(RepublicanReport.org) – In 2022, the National Park Service (NPS) released its North Cascades Ecosystem Grizzly Bear Restoration Plan/Environmental Impact Statement in conjunction with the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). The announcement stated the entities were looking into the best options to restore and manage the grizzly bear population in the North Cascades of Washington state — a region where the creatures once thrived.
On September 28, Field & Stream reported that NPS and USFWS took the next steps to return grizzly bears to the region. While the agencies were asking for public comment, the proposal would introduce 3 to 7 animals per year over a 5 to 10-year period to establish a population of 200 bears in Washington within 60 to 100 years. Under two of the plan options, the bears would be protected by the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The third option would allow agencies more “management flexibility” if problems occur between grizzlies and humans.
Several groups argued against releasing the bears in the area because there are rural communities that live in the Washington forest. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Public Lands Council, and American Farm Bureau Federation believe the grizzly bears would endanger the public and harm future conservation efforts. Wyoming rancher Mark Eisele called the potential move a “mistake” that “poses a huge threat” to communities in the area. He said lawmakers “thousands of miles away” don’t understand what they’re doing and should listen to the people who live there. He encouraged the agencies to reconsider.
Another rancher from Colorado, PLC President Mark Roeber, said grizzly’s omnivorous nature means they would pose a threat to multiple types of ranchers and farmers. Plus, he said grizzlies are “20 times more dangerous than black bears.” Still, Regional FWS Director Hugh Morrison believes the bears and residents can “peacefully” live together.
The time for public comment about the proposal recently expired. There’s no word on the timeline of the proposed project.
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