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FWP extends comment period for area grizzly bear plan



Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has again extended the public comment
period for its updated grizzly bear conservation and management plan in
southwest Montana.
The comment period was first extended to Sept. 30; responding to public
requests for additional time to examine the document, FWP will now accept
comments through Oct. 11.
Updated from a 2002 version, the new draft plan addresses state
management options once the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s more than
700 grizzly bears are removed from the federal list of threatened species.
FWP has developed the plan over the past year in conjunction with a
programmatic environmental impact statement, and held August open
houses in Bozeman, Helena and Billings to discuss the proposal.
Among the issues considered in the EIS are population monitoring, habitat
management, nuisance grizzly bear management, future distribution, and the
potential for grizzly bear hunting.
FWP has received a number of comments and questions regarding operating
costs, and its Wildlife Division administrator Ken McDonald said the operating
costs outlined in the draft are the minimum for program implementation. FWP
will provide additional clarification of costs and response to public comment
in the final EIS.
FWP expects to have a final decision notice in December, to be considered for
approval by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in January.
Copies of the draft plan and comment forms are available online at Click “SW MT Grizzly Bear Management Plan.” Public comment
will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Oct. 11.

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