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FWP open houses to discuss grizzly bear management

Tyler Allen

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Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is planning to host three open houses in late August to
examine a draft of an updated long-term conservation and management plan for grizzly bears
in southwest Montana.
The draft plan, developed over the past year in conjunction with a programmatic
environmental impact statement, addresses issues associated with state management options
once the area’s more than 700 grizzly bears are removed from the federal list of threatened
species.
The programmatic EIS examines an array of issues and two possible alternatives, including no
action and FWP’s preferred alternative to manage grizzlies as a sustainable, adequately
distributed, secure and stable population that won’t require federal protections. Each
alternative’s potential beneficial and adverse environmental, social and economic impacts are
considered.
Some of the issues examined in the EIS include: population monitoring, habitat management,
nuisance grizzly bear management, future distribution, and the potential for grizzly hunting.
The open houses will follow Montana Environmental Policy Act requirements and are aimed at
discussing and examining responses to previously identified issues, impacts, concerns and
opportunities. Comments will assist FWP in further refining and eventually adopting one of the
alternatives.
Open houses are scheduled from 6-8 p.m. on the following dates:
• Aug. 26 Bozeman FWP Region 3 HQ; 1400 S. 19th

• Aug. 27 Helena Montana Wild; 2668 Broadwater Ave.

• Aug. 28 Billings FWP Region 5 HQ; 2300 Lake Elmo Dr.
FWP will be on hand to discuss the plan and the information displayed. Written comment can
be submitted at each open house.
Copies of the draft plan and comment forms are at fwp.mt.gov. Click “SW MT Grizzly
Bear Management Plan.” Public comment on the draft plan and EIS will be accepted
through 5 p.m. on Sept. 16.
A final decision notice is expected from FWP in October, which would then be considered for
approval by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in November.

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