About the Document
Title: Proposed rule “Designating the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population of grizzly bears as a Distinct Population Segment (DPS); Removing the Yellowstone DPS of grizzly bears from the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife” (70 FR 69854).
Type of review: Influential
Timeline of the Peer review:
Draft document disseminated: November 17, 2005
Peer review initiated: November 18, 2005
Peer review to be completed by: March 20, 2006
Document to be finalized: late 2006 to early 2007
About the Peer Review ProcessIn accordance with our July 1, 1994 peer review policy (59 FR 34270), we solicited independent scientific reviews of our November 17, 2005 proposal to remove the Yellowstone population from the list of threatened and endangered species. This review is occurring concurrently with the public comment period for the proposed action. This review will also satisfy the peer review requirements of the Office of Management and Budget’s Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review.
The Service selected and solicited comments from 9 independent scientific reviewers. Eight of these potential reviewers accepted the opportunity to review the proposed rule and will answer questions pertaining to the logic of our assumptions, arguments, and conclusions. These reviewers were experienced bear biologists and researchers that do not work for the Service. They were chosen based on their direct research experience with bears and their experience with the conservation and management of bears. The names and affiliations of the reviewers are:
1. Dr. Steven Herrero, Professor emeritus of environmental science, University of Calgary, Canada
2. Dr. Piero Genovesi, Italian National Wildlife Institute, Italy
3. Dr. Joseph D. Clark, Research Ecologist, U.S.G.S. Southern Appalachian Field Branch, Department of the Interior
4. Dr. Frank T. van Manen, Research Ecologist, U.S.G.S. Southern Appalachian Field Branch, Department of the Interior
5. Dr. Bruce McLellan, Wildlife Research Ecologist, British Columbia Ministry of Forests Research Branch, Canada
6. Dr. Gordon Stenhouse, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development and Foothills Model Forest Grizzly Bear Research Program, Canada
7. Dr. Djuro Huber, Biology Department, University of Zagreb, Croatia
8. Dr. Jon Swenson, Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
Each reviewer was paid $500 (USD) for their analysis (with the exception of those that also work for the Department of the Interior who will not be paid for their services).
The purpose of seeking independent peer review is to ensure that the best biological and commercial information is being used in the decisionmaking process, as well as to ensure that reviews by recognized experts are incorporated into the review process of the rulemakings. Peer reviewers were asked to consider, but to not limit their comments, to the following questions and to provide any other relevant comments, criticisms, or ideas:
1. Does the Proposed Rule provide adequate review and analysis of the factors relating to the persistence of the grizzly bear population in the GYA (demographics, habitat, adequate regulatory mechanisms, disease and predation, and genetics)?
2. Is our establishment of this population as a distinct population segment (DPS) logical and adequate? Specifically, are our arguments pertaining to the discreteness and significance of the population sufficient according to the DPS policy, as described in the rule?
3. Are our assumptions and definition of suitable habitat logical and adequate?
4. Are the conclusions we reach logical and supported by the evidence we provide?
5. Are our conclusions relating to food resources logical and adequate?
6. Is the post-delisting monitoring program for habitat and population criteria logical and adequate to ensure survival of this population of grizzly bears in the foreseeable future?
7. Did we include all the necessary and pertinent literature to support our assumptions/arguments/conclusions?
Peer reviewers will provide individual, written responses. These reviews will be included in the administrative record of our final determination regarding this proposal (i.e., a final rule or a withdrawal). Individual peer reviews, once all are completed, will be available upon request (see Contact section below). We will summarize and respond to the issues raised by the peer reviewers in a special section of the final rulemaking determination. Because this peer review process is running concurrently with public review of the proposed action, peer reviewers will not be provided public comments. A final determination regarding this proposed action is expected in late 2006 or early 2007.
About Public Participation
This peer review was initiated shortly after publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register and prior to the implementation of Section II of the "Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review" (December 16, 2005). This peer review is currently underway. The public may comment on the approach of this peer review through the normal comment process associated with the proposed rule. Public comments will be accepted until March 20, 2006 (70 FR 69854; 71 FR 8251).
1. You may submit written comments to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University Hall 309, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana 59812.
2. You may hand deliver written comments to our Missoula office at the address given above.
3. You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to FW6_grizzly_yellowstone@fws.gov.
Comments and materials received, as well as supporting documentation used in preparation of this proposed action, will be available for inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours, at our Missoula office (see address above).
For more information, contact Dr. Chris Servheen, Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator at 406.243.4903