Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office
Pacific Region  

Southern Selkirk Mountains Caribou

Southern Selkirk Mountains Caribou photo by Steve Forrest


Service Enters into Agreement with Kootenai Tribe to Benefit Unique Population of Woodland Caribou

The Service has struck an agreement with the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho to revise the recovery plan for the southern Selkirk Mountains population of caribou. The Tribe will lead preparation of the draft revised recovery plan, while the Service will participate in the technical and policy review and provide financial support for the undertaking.

News Release

Service Invites Comment on Proposal to Amend Listing of Southern Selkirk Mountains Population of Woodland Caribou

The Service has announced the reopening of the public comment period on the proposed amended listing of the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou. The Service invites public comment on the proposed amended listing during a 30-day comment period from March 24 to April 23, 2015. The new scientific information that caused the reopening is a 2014 assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). COSEWIC reviewed the status of the Southern Mountain caribou population, changing it from threatened to endangered in Canada under Canada’s federal Species At Risk Act pending review by the federal Environment Minister.

News Release

Federal Register Notice


How to Comment

Background Information


Service Proposes to Amend Listing of Woodland Caribou, Southern Selkirk Mountains Population

The Service has announced that woodland caribou in the Southern Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho, northeastern Washington and southern British Columbia require continued Endangered Species Act protection. The Service is proposing to amend the current listing by recognizing a new Distinct Population Segment that includes a broader range of mountain caribou in British Columbia (the southern mountain caribou DPS). The new DPS is proposed to be designated threatened, due in part to a broader range and larger additional populations. The existing critical habitat designation would remain applicable. The public comment period closes July 7 ,2014.

News Release
Federal Register Notice

Service Designates Final Caribou Critical Habitat

The Service has designated final critical habitat for the Southern Selkirk Mountains population of the Woodland Caribou. The area includes 30,010 acres in Idaho's Boundary County and Washington's Pend Oreille County as critical habitat because they contain the physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the species.The final designation, modified from the 2011 proposed 375,552-acre designation, is a result of 150 days of public involvement and extensive analysis that included public information meetings, hearings, comment periods, scientific peer review, and a reexamination of information regarding occupancy at the time of the caribou listing.

New Release

Federal Register Notice 11/28/2012 (PDF 582 KB)

Final Critical Habitat Map (PDF 2.42 MB)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a draft analysis

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a draft analysis that estimates costs related to the conservation of the southern Selkirk Mountains woodland caribou and its proposed critical habitat. A new 30 day public comment period is now open and will close July 2, 2012. Interested citizens are invited to attend a Service-hosted Open House information meeting on Saturday, June 16, 2012 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m at the Inn at Priest Lake, 5310 Dickensheet Road, Coolin, Idaho 83821. Citizens will have an opportunity to learn more about the DEA and the proposal by talking with Service biologists and managers at this information meeting. A public hearing will be held the same day, also at the Inn at Priest Lake, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Citizens will be able to provide formal oral comments for the Service to review and consider for its final decision. Speaker registration will begin at 1:00 p.m. All oral comments will be entered into the official public record, and will be considered in the Service's analysis for final designation. If time does not permit full oral testimony, the public is encouraged to bring written testimony for incorporation into the record.

News Release (PDF 147 KB)

Final draft Economic Analysis (PDF 1.78 MB)


The new 60-day comment period

The new 60-day comment period for the Caribou Proposed Critical Habitat Designation will close May 21, 2012. An information meeting and public hearing have been scheduled for April 28 in Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

Information about the reopening of the comment period for this proposal can be found on March 20 in the "Reading Room" at:

News Release (PDF 147 KB)


Comment Period and Information Meeting/Hearing

Comment period closes May 21, 2012

Date - Saturday, April 28th
Info Meeting - 9:30 to 11:30 am
Lunch break - 11:30 to 1:00 pm
Formal public hearing speaker registration begins - 1:00 pm
Public Hearing - 2:00 to 5:00 pm
Location: Bonners Ferry High School, 6485 Tamarack Lane, Bonners Ferry, Idaho 83805

The FWS information meeting is an open-house style opportunity for interested citizens to have conversations with FWS managers and biologists about the caribou proposal. The purpose of that meeting is information-sharing dialogue.

The public hearing is a formal hearing for citizens to present their oral testimony to FWS, which will be entered into the public record as official comments.
A court reporter will record the comments. The public is encouraged to bring a copy of their full comments for incorporation into the record even if speaking at the hearing.

In addition to public hearing testimony that is recorded, comment submission is primarily through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal (see instructions below). Recognizing some citizens do not have access to electronic equipment, we will have comment forms available at the information meeting so that citizens can comment in writing. FWS will electronically submit those comments for those who can not do so themselves. We hope this will help ensure that all comments regarding the draft proposal are properly submitted to the record.

Comment submission instructions:
Please submit comments and other information only by one of the methods listed below.
• Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: In the Keyword box, enter Docket No. [This number will be published in the Federal Register Notice], which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Send a Comment or Submission.” Please note that if you are using the Federal eRulemaking Portal, the deadline for submitting an electronic comment is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the closing date.

By mail:Public Comments Processing, Attn: (This number will be published in the Federal Register Notice); Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

Boundary County Meeting on April 28th: Public comments will be received through formal oral testimony, and recorded for the record. The public is encouraged to bring a full written copy of their testimony to be included in the record. Comment forms will be available for those citizens who do not have access to electronic equipment. The FWS (Idaho) will electronically submit those comments for you if you choose.

We will post your entire comment – including personal identifying information – on You may request at the top of your document that we withhold personal information, such as your name, street address, phone number or e-mail address from public review; however, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.


Proposed Critical Habitat Designation

News Release (PDF 148 KB)

Caribou References

Federal Register Notice - Proposed Rule (PDF 2.05 MB)

Map 1- Overview of all Proposed Critical Habitat (PDF 4.5 MB)

Map 2-Subunit 1 of Proposed Critical Habitat in Idaho (PDF 5.5 MB)

Map 3- Subunit 2 of Proposed Critical Habitat in Washington (PDF 5.5 MB)

Federal eRulemaking Portal - Comment Submissions



Comment period closes January 30, 2012.

A proposal to designate critical habitat for southern Selkirk Mountains caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), an endangered woodland mammal protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), is available for public review ad comment. Comments must be received by January 30, 2012.

The southern Selkirk Mountains caribou was listed as an endangered species in 1984. It occurs in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho and northeastern Washington and British Columbia, and the entire distinct population segment (DPS) is estimated to include about 46 animals. In total, approximately 375,562 acres are being proposed for designation as critical habitat. The proposed critical habitat is located in Boundary and Bonner counties in Idaho, and Pend Oreille County in Washington, United States. These lands are all currently considered to be occupied by the species, and no exclusions are proposed.

News Release





Last updated: August 27, 2015