MT, WY & ID Lawmakers Urge Interior Secretary to Delist the Grizzly

by Colter Brown

Montana’s U.S. Senator Steve Daines and Congressman Matt Rosendale were joined by Wyoming Senators Cynthia Lummis, John Barrasso and Congresswoman Liz Cheney as well as the entire Idaho delegation in urging Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to listen to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) study that states the grizzly bear has fully recovered in the Northern Continental Divide (NCDE) and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystems (GYE) proving that it is time to delist the species and requesting more information on the path forward.

“The successful recovery of the NCDE and GYE grizzly bear epitomizes what the authors of the Endangered Species Act first envisioned. We are hopeful that future management of the bear will follow the science, honor the commitment and resources invested by Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho over the past five decades, and not be subject to political whims. Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho stand ready to take the lead in protecting the grizzly bear for generations to come and we stand ready to partner however appropriate to ensure a smooth transition,” the letter states.

The study by the Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that there are over 1,000 grizzlies in the Northern Continental Ecosystem and more than 700 in the Greater Yellowstone, far above recovery targets. However, following the study’s release, the agency said it was not recommending to remove the bear from the Endangered Species List.

“It has been sixteen years since the GYE population was first proposed for removal from the endangered and threatened species list,” the letter says. “And since then, Republican and Democratic Administrations alike have supported returning the GYE management to the states.”

Grizzly bears have nearly tripled the extent of their occupied range in the GYE since the 1980s and the USFWS believes it has reached carrying capacity. Similarly, the NCDE has more than doubled its size in range and tripled its population count.

Alan Redfield, a rancher and former legislator from the Paradise Valley, just outside of Yellowstone National Park, thanked Senator Daines for his efforts and said the time has come to delist the grizzly and return species management to the states.

“We’ve had a great restoration project with the grizzly bears because, 50 years ago they weren’t around and now they are. Well, it’s time to delist,” Redfield says.

“I think Senator Daines is on the right track to delist the grizzly bear and get some local management. He’s seeing where we’re coming from and understands what it means to have locals driving the policy and that’s important to those of us that are out here on the ground.”

Read the full letter HERE.


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