HELENA - State wildlife officials are providing additional time for people to comment on a draft plan for managing grizzly bears in Montana.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) has extended the public comment deadline on the draft grizzly bear management plan and associated draft environmental impact statement (EIS) to Feb. 4.
According to FWP, the purpose of the draft plan and draft EIS is to guide the long-term management and conservation of grizzly bears across the state.
“We know the holidays are a busy time for people and their families,” FWP Director Hank Worsech said. “We want to make sure people have a chance to share their best ideas with us and so extending the comment period by 30 days will allow for that.”
FWP is required to provide 30 days for public comment on the draft EIS. However, the agency may extend the public comment period for up to an additional 30 days. A news release notes the extension is in response to multiple public requests for additional time to review the draft plan and draft EIS.
According to FWP the plan was developed by using "existing bear plans and conservation strategies, the federal recovery plan and the work of the Grizzly Bear Advisory Council, appointed under the previous administration in 2019."
The new plan would replace two existing plans that exist for Western Montana and for Southwest Montana with one statewide plan.
Montana has petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to delist grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem and supports Wyoming’s petition to delist grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, where they have surpassed recovery goals, the news release states.
Other recovery areas in Montana include the Cabinet-Yaak and Bitterroot ecosystems.
People can review and comment on the plan here. To comment by mail, send to Wildlife Division, Grizzly Bear Plan and EIS, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620. Comments can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.