Elk NetworkMarch 9 Deadline to Offer Comment on Montana Grizzly Bear, Wolf Management Plans

General | February 29, 2024

Below is a news release from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is reopening the public comment period for the 2024 Grizzly Bear Management Plan and Montana Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan to ensure Montana counties, Tribes, and state and federal agencies have a chance for input. The new deadline is March 9.

The extension will ensure that Montana statute requiring FWP to notify county commissioners of opportunities to comment on management plans for grizzly bears, wolves and other large carnivores has been met. It will also allow for additional time for tribal partners and other state and federal agencies to provide input.

“Wolves and grizzly bears are iconic and controversial species,” said FWP Director Dustin Temple. “We want to ensure that everyone who has a stake in how these two species are managed can have a chance to comment on our draft plans before they are final.”

The new grizzly bear plan will inform management statewide, focusing on the 30 counties where grizzly bear presence has been documented in recent years or may be documented in the near future. Since grizzly bears are still listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, the plan is designed to inform state management while this species remains federally listed. The plan also addresses FWP’s future vision for management when any grizzly bear populations in Montana are delisted and full management authority for them is returned to the state.

The wolf plan shifts a key counting metric from the number of breeding pairs to the number of wolves representing at least 15 breeding pairs. The plan establishes that 450 wolves would ensure 15 breeding pairs. Population estimates will continue to be determined by the peer-reviewed Integrated Patch Occupancy Modeling method, or iPOM. The plan also describes the current depredation prevention and response program.

Both draft plans were out for public comment in 2023. People who previously submitted comments on the draft plans do not need to submit them again.

(Photo credit: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks)