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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

August 6, 1997

Laird Robinson - Forest Service - 406-329-3434
Sharon Rose - Fish and Wildlife Service - 303-236-7917 ext 415

DATES CHANGE FOR PUBLIC HEARINGS/MEETINGS ON GRIZZLY BEAR RECOVERY IN THE BITTERROOT ECOSYSTEM

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the extension of the public comment period and new dates for the public meetings/hearings scheduled for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Grizzly Bear Recovery in the Bitterroot Ecosystem. Previously scheduled for late August, the Service postponed the public hearings until early October and changed one location. All comments on the draft environmental impact statement should be sent to the Grizzly Bear Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University Hall, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, and they must be postmarked no later than November 1, 1997.

The public hearings, which will include a hearing room where individual statements can be made and a separate area where participants will be able to talk with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service representatives about the draft environmental impact statement, will take place:

The exact locations and times for these meetings are still in the planning stages, but the Service hopes to announce these in the near future.

The alternative preferred by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and described in the draft environmental impact statement calls for the introduction of 3 to 5 bears annually into the Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem as a nonessential experimental population, using a 15-member Citizen Management Committee to be appointed by the Secretary of the Interior in consultation with the governors of Idaho and Montana and the Nez Perce Tribe. The Committee members, which would consist of a cross-section of interests from communities within and adjacent to the recovery and experimental population areas, would serve six-year terms and would consist of seven individuals appointed by the Secretary of Interior based on recommendations of the Governor of Idaho, five members appointed by the Secretary of the Interior based on the recommendations of the Governor of Montana, one member appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture or his/her designee, one member appointed by the Secretary of the Interior or his/her designee, and one member recommended by the Nez Perce Tribe and appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.

Included in the draft environmental impact statement is an evaluation of all of the alternatives considered for recovery of the grizzly bear in the Bitterroot ecosystem: