MISSOULA – The continuing debate over delisting grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) will get some attention this week as wildlife managers pour over their plans for this coming year.
The status of the NCDE grizzlies has received increased attention the past couple of years as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) edges closer to possibly removing threatened species protection for grizzlies.
Biologists say the grizzlies living in the country that includes Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and the Flathead are getting to the point where they’re a “recovered” population and no longer warrant federal protection.
That would shift protection over to Montana where Fish, Wildlife and Parks are already drawing up management plans in case the bears are delisted. But conservation groups and wildlife advocates are questioning whether the bears are out of danger, and calling for more research.
The NCDE Grizzly Bear Subcommittee is meeting in Missoula on Tuesday with an agenda covering a wide range of topics, from the latest research to FWP management and a special panel discussing “connectivity,” or the importance of the northern grizzly populations with those in the south.
The meeting runs from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Missoula.
-Reported by Dennis Bragg/MTN News