Final Grizzly Bear Occupancy Plan released
June 21, 2005
After evaluating extensive public input received during a 4-month process, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has released its final plan for grizzly bear occupancy in Wyoming.
The plan, "Final Draft Grizzly Bear Occupancy Management Proposal Following Delisting as a Threatened Species," outlines areas considered suitable for grizzly bear occupancy. It is the final piece in the state’ s overall plan for managing grizzly bears once they are removed from the endangered species list.
The final report includes recommended changes based on input received during a public involvement process that began September 2004 with stakeholder meetings, public meetings and a public comment period. The G&F received more than 17,000 written comments from the public – more than the department has received on any other issue in its history.
"The comments ranged widely from those who want grizzly bears confined to Yellowstone Park to those who would like to see bears in every corner of the state," said G&F Director Terry Cleveland. "We have been working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure our grizzly bear occupancy proposal will meet federal requirements for delisting. The plan includes modifications based on public input. The result is a plan that addresses as much of the public concern as possible while still meeting minimum requirements for removal of bears from the endangered species list."
The report is available on the G&F web site http://gf.state.wy.us/ A limited supply of printed copies are also available by contacting the G&F Policy Office at (307) 777-4600.
Grizzly bear occupancy is one component of the Wyoming Grizzly Bear Management Plan. The plan, which describes data collection, nuisance animal management, information and education efforts and a general description of occupancy, was approved by the G&F Commission in February 2002.
"Approval of this grizzly bear occupancy proposal will be essential in demonstrating Wyoming’s commitment to moving the delisting process forward," said Cleveland. "It’s time to move on to delisting, to return grizzly bears to state management control, and to stabilize the bear population in Wyoming. Following delisting, Wyoming is committed to managing for a stable bear population while assuring a fully recovered population of bears is maintained."
1. Bears would be restricted to northern portion of the Greater Yellowstone area.
2. Wyoming & Salt River Ranges would be largely off-limits to griz due to potential conflicts with recreation, logging, sheep grazing and oil & gas drilling. These areas would be managed for low density numbers of bears, according to the plan.
3. No griz allowed east of Shoshoni or south of Kemmerer. None in Bighorn, Sierra Madres, Snowy Range or Laramie Peak mountain range areas because they are too small to support populations without creating unacceptable levels of conflict.
4. The Wyoming Game & Fish Commission will meet in Rawlins July 11-13 to vote on the plan.