A bear of a plan

  Grizzly bears could be reintroduced to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area in a little more than a year, if a final environmental impact statement proceeds as planned. The Fish and Wildlife Service's preferred alternative of the grizzly plan calls for a citizen's management committee to oversee reintroduction of a non-essential experimental grizzly bear population. The Interior secretary would approve appointments to a 15-member committee nominated by the governors of Idaho and Montana, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. A scientific panel would resolve any dispute over bear management. "This is the first time ever the federal government has allowed local citizen management of an endangered species," says Jim Riley of the Intermountain Forestry Association. The plan calls for 25 bears to be introduced in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness Area over five years, with a goal of reaching 280 bears within 50 years. Under the plan, citizens could obtain a special permit to kill bears that have attacked their livestock.


Public comment on the plan can be viewed at www.r6.fws.gov/endspp/grizzly. Send comments to Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University Hall-Room 309, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, or e-mail FW6_Bitterroot@fws.gov.


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