The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is still projecting the delisting of grizzly bears in this corner of Montana within the next couple of years . . .
Wildlife managers could propose the delisting of the major grizzly bear population in Northwest Montana by late 2016.
A collective of federal, state and tribal officials gathered in Hungry Horse last week for the spring meeting of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem subcommittee. The group discussed updates on local grizzly conservation and management issues, including the ongoing problem of bear attractants like chicken coops.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing nearly 3,000 public comments on a post delisting management strategy for grizzly bears in the NCDE that was proposed a year ago. Chris Servheen, FWS grizzly bear recovery coordinator, said the plan would incorporate the comments and be completed in the coming months. After that, a threat analysis will be conducted to identify several characteristics of the NCDE, including the bear population’s status and the status of its habitat and regulatory mechanisms that would be in place to protect grizzlies if they were delisted. This analysis is expected to start in 2015, according to federal officials.