ALTERNATIVE 4

REINTRODUCTION OF A THREATENED POPULATION

WITH FULL PROTECTION OF THE ESA

ALTERNATIVE 4: The goal is to achieve recovery through reintroduction and extensive habitat protection and enhancement to promote natural recovery. The grizzly bear would have full status as a threatened species under the provisions of the ESA.

Summary

The majority of commenters who specifically address Alternative 4 are supportive of it (approximately 78% of Alternative 4 comments). Approximately 6% of the comments that specifically address Alternative 4 are critical of it; and about 16% suggest modifications. Supporters of Alternative 4 are also vocal in their opposition to Alternative 1, which influences the percentage of comments that are critical of Alternative 1. Alternative 1 supporters, however, are not as critical of Alternative 4 and this is reflected in the lower percentage of critical comments for Alternative 4 as compared with those critical of Alternative 1.

Additionally, the FWS received a petition with 1,566 signatures in support of Alternative 4 from the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. The petition indicates that Alternative 4 represents, ?the most scientifically-viable way to restore grizzly bears to their rightful home in the Bitterroots,@ and lists numerous reasons for this statement. It also states numerous reasons the supporters of this petition oppose Alternative 1.

 

COMMENTS FAVORING ALTERNATIVE 4

General Comments

Supportive comments of Alternative 4 include many reasons why it is the best choice for the grizzly bear and for the Bitterroot Ecosystem. Many people feel the large recovery zone in Alternative 4 is essential for grizzly bear recovery in the BE because it provides adequate space and food resources for a viable population of bears. They also suggest that the recovery boundaries include the entire ?Greater Salmon-Selway Bitterroot Ecosystem@ which is essential for holistic management of the bear and other ecosystem components. There is strong support for reintroducing and recovering grizzly bears with full protection as threatened species under the ESA. Many people feel this is the only way to insure the survival of grizzly bears in an area where the public is not totally supportive, and the only way to insure protection of essential habitat through Section 7 consultation with the FWS. Protection for the grizzly is a major concern of supporters of Alternative 4. Another common response is that the planning, implementation, and management of the recovery project needs to be guided by the best available science, and they strongly support the Scientific Committee. There are also a number of supportive comments about the proposed linkage zone to the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, and

the habitat restoration proposal to reduce road densities and increase habitat security in the recovery zone. Respondents feel Alternative 4 will insure genetic diversity of the grizzly bear metapopulation in the Northern Rockies through linkage with other grizzly bear ecosystems. They also support the restrictions on resource extraction activities, and feel ecosystem protection (especially roadless areas) and restoration of the managed landscape are beneficial to all species, including humans. In general, supporters of Alternative 4 are not concerned with the effects that grizzly bears will have on human safety, hunting opportunities, recreational opportunities, and other wildlife species. They see many benefits, rather than detractions. There are many comments pertaining to the spiritual value of returning the magnificent bear to its native habitat, and of putting the ?wild@ back into the wilderness. Supporters also comment there will be economic benefits to local communities from the creation of restoration jobs, and increases in tourism.

!?The IBA strongly supports reintroduction of grizzly bears into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness areas of Idaho and western Montana...Alternative 4, the @conservation biology? alternative, is the strongest alternative from the purely biological perspective.@

!?In my views this is the only alternative that has a chance for grizzly recovery.@

!?I fully support reintroduction of grizzly bears in the Bitterroots and Salmon-Selway ecosystem. Please select Alternative 4, the Conservation Biology Alternative, and implement the reintroduction of giving grizzly bears full protection under the Endangered Species Act, as well as beginning habitat restoration work.@

!?..may well be determined by a scientific committee that no acceptable source population exist, but by protecting habitat and establishing linkage corridors between current populations and the Greater Salmon-Selway Ecosystem what over the long term, a healthy, viable population will establish itself in the next century...only need to give the bears an opportunity.@

!?Although re-introducing wolves under the non-essential experimental status worked for this species I do not believe it can work for grizzly bears. The reproductive rate of bears is far lower than that of wolves and the loss of even one animal could greatly affect the recovery population and increase the chance of the reintroduction effort failing.@

!?This alternative has been endorsed by leading grizzly bear experts, would expand the recovery zone, and would provide grizzly bears with full protection under the Endangered Species Act.@

!?Alternative 4, the scientifically derived alternative is the most sound plan for the continued co-existence of grizzly bears and man...we need to expand protection of lands that are vital grizzly bear habitat including roadless areas.@

!?Alternative 4 is the only one that shows any gratitude. Alternative 4 provides ways for the grizzly to survive and to grow in number. It also provides jobs for humans by restoring grizzly habitat by removing roads. Alternative 4 does a great deal for humans and grizzlies.@

!?We support the protection provided by the Act and the consultation process prescribed in Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.@

!?A large area set aside for bear habitat will also be beneficial in maintaining clean water for fisheries, areas for other threatened or dwindling plant and animal communities and as a place to study complex @pristine? ecosystems.@

!?This is the only alternative that provides adequate protection for this species as well as its habitats.@

!?Alternative 4, the only alternative that supports natural recovery...including but not limited to: land use restrictions, habitat maintenance, and the enforcement of protective measures.@

 

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

Most comments regarding the DEIS request revisions or additions to the analyses in the DEIS. Requests for revision of analyses include the economic analysis, recovery goal number, and impacts on wilderness and motorized use. Requests for additional analyses include a population viability analysis and analysis on the cost of logging under Alternatives 1, 2 and 3.

!?...we'd like to see the Fish and Wildlife Service incorporate additional PVA in the EIS and use the best scientific data that's available.@

!?The final EIS needs to show that the Forest Service will save over $137 million by not logging in roadless areas needed for grizzly bear recovery for a net monetary benefit of at least $68 million.@

 

Strategies to Control Nuisance Grizzlies

Commenters support Alternative 4 because they think it provides more protection for nuisance grizzlies through fully Threatened status and through management by professional biologists.

!?If landowners run into problems with the grizzlies, the problem should be reported and dealt with by professionals.@

!?The first three alternatives would allow a livestock owner to @kill a grizzly bear killing or pursuing livestock on private lands.? This is saying that by crossing a property line a grizzly is not as important as livestock.@

 

Illegal Killing of Grizzly Bears

Some respondents believe Alternative 4 offers more protection for grizzlies from illegal killing because the recovery area would be larger, road densities would be reduced, and baiting of black bears would be potentially eliminated. Others are still concerned that reintroduced bears would be killed regardless of the protections offered.

!?Alternative 4 contains a proposal to eliminate black bear hunting with bait or hounds within parts of the recovery area in Idaho...I support such a proposal because it reduces the risk of grizzly bears associating human scents with food, reduces the potential stresses bears would experience when chased by dogs, and in general reduces the chance of grizzly bear being shot mistakenly.@

!?These roads also allow human contact with the bears which could lead to poaching and human death during spring when cubs are out.@

 

Regulated Public Take (Killing) of Grizzlies

Respondents mention the susceptibility of grizzly bear populations to decimation from human-caused mortality, due to their inherent low reproductive rates and slow growth rate. They stress the importance of providing a recovery area large enough to ensure that has secure habitat and low road densities.

!?If the public was allowed to harm or kill a grizzly outside of certain boundaries too many bears would be lost and with such a long maturing cycle the population cannot be established.@

!?...turning to the results of our population viability analysis...survival of individual bears is going to be critical to grizzly bear recovery and human-caused mortality can dramatically decrease bears probability of persistence.@

Humane Treatment of Grizzly Bears

One commenter feels animals should not be trapped and removed from their native habitat.

!?I am deeply saddened to see animals, particularly endangered ones, drugged, caged, and completely removed from their element. I think this serves to isolate and harm more than it fosters or protects.@

 

Compensation for Livestock Killed by Grizzlies

One respondent believes livestock operators should be fully compensated for grizzly bear depredations.

!?I support some kind of full compensation for rancher and sheep herders who lost cattle or sheep to grizzly bears. This compensation should be confirmed by wildlife experts at the kill site.@

 

Recovery Areas

All of the respondents favoring Alternative 4 favor the large size of the recovery area, the fact that its boundaries are determined by the best available grizzly habitat, and that it includes linkages to other grizzly populations.

!?The total recovery zone specified by Alternative 4 will include 21,645 square miles, large enough to sustain a viable population.@

!?Boundaries of the recovery areas should be determined by the habitat needs of a sustainable grizzly population, not by politically drawn boundaries of designated wilderness areas.@

!?...encompasses the entire Greater Salmon-Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem. The boundaries of the recovery area must fit the brown bear's behavior, rather than following pre-existing political boundaries.@

!?...give the bear all of the public land that is available.@

!?Alternative 4 offers the highest probability of their successful reintroduction. It proposes the entire Greater-Salmon-Selway-Bitterroot Ecosystem as potential habitat within a recovery zone of about 22,000 square miles, that includes all of the wilderness areas and surrounding inventoried roadless areas of the national forests. ... Alternative 4 which includes the entire GSSB ecosystem and provides corridors and linkages to other areas is preferred.@

!?Even with successful reintroduction, grizzly bear opponents will still have 99% of the United States available to them without ever having to worry about encountering a grizzly bear.@

 

Bear Sources

Most respondents feel it is important for the Scientific Committee to determine if reintroduction is necessary, and to first evaluate impacts to potential source populations (especially those with threatened status) before removing grizzlies. They also like that this alternative protects natural dispersers to the BE under ESA threatened status.

!?...we would like the Scientific Committee as envisioned in Alternative 4 to first undertake an analysis of potential source populations to determine it these populations could sustain removal of reproductive age grizzlies to be used for reintroduction purposes.@

!?Alternative 4 has the caveat to allow the scientific committee to determine the need to translocate bears - and to identify a source area where grizzlies are not already threatened, if such and area exists.@

!?...this alternative protects other marginal populations, such as Glacier and Yellowstone by not removing needed bears, and protecting natural dispersers into the Selway Bitterroot.@

 

Monitoring/Evaluation

Commenters feel the Scientific Committee would develop and implement higher quality monitoring and evaluation programs.

!?We approve of the appointment of a Scientific Committee to define needs for additional research, develop strategies for reintroduction of bears, and monitor results of the program.@

Experimental Nonessential Population

All respondents believe that experimental nonessential status (as Alternative 1 proposes) would not provide adequate protection for reintroduced bears. They strongly support reintroduction and recovery of grizzly bears in the BE under fully threatened status.

!?Although re-introducing wolves under the non-essential experimental status worked for this species, I do not believe it can work for grizzly bears. The reproductive rate of bears is far lower than that of wolves and the loss of even one animal could greatly affect the recovery population and increase the chance of the reintroduction failing.@

!?We believe that full legal protection for bears under the provisions of the ESA is absolutely necessary. Under no circumstances must the bear be downgraded to an @experimental nonessential? status.@

 

Consultation with Fish and Wildlife Service

Commenters support this alternative because ESA Section 7 consultation with FWS would be mandated for all proposed management activities...thus ensuring greater protection for grizzlies.

!?...it maintains full ESA protection for all grizzly bears and maintains Section 7 consultation.@

!?Consultation under Section 7 would occur before roading could be done....provides some real protection for grizzly bears. @

 

Protect Grizzlies

Numerous respondents feel that Alternative 4 is the only option to protect grizzly bears that would be reintroduced to the BE, and also to protect the species by re-establishing an additional population in the lower 48 states.

!?Maintaining protection of the grizzly while prohibiting resource extraction activities is key.@

!?Alternative 4 is the only alternative that will actually protect the grizzly as a species.@

!?Grizzly bears ARE essential. They belong to our children. They should be protected in the Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem.@

!?...it seems clear that the most suitable choice to protect our endangered species is Alternative 4...The most important consideration must be the grizzly bears. How many species do we have to drive out of existence before we are satisfied.@

 

 

Citizen Management Committee

Supporters of this alternative believe grizzlies in the BE should be managed by a Scientific Committee and existing management agencies, and not by the Citizen Management Committee proposed under Alternative 1. They are concerned about political influence in selection of the CMC, management of such an important species by nonprofessionals, and by the unfair delegation of management of a national resource to local citizens and their interests.

!?Reintroduced grizzly bears should be managed by wildlife professionals in cooperation with local residents - not by political cronies appointed by the governors of Idaho and Montana.@

!?I think it is totally unjustifiable to hand over management of our nation's greatest resources to non-professionals....should be managed by the FWS, not some Governor-appointed Citizen Management Committee.@

!?The FS and FWS are by no means perfect, but compared to management by local citizen committees and Governor decree, they represent the end of the rainbow...The Citizen Management Committee proposed for the Selway-Bitterroot grizzly reintroduction is an extremely dangerous precedent because it is intended to alienate Americans, on a National scale, from their land and their wildlife: this amounts to a spike in the heart of democracy.@

 

Federal, State, Local and Tribal Authority

Comments indicate the respondents want the FWS to retain responsibility and authority for management of reintroduced grizzlies, as opposed to management by a CMC. One person is interested in the Nez Perce Tribe managing the reintroduction project.

!?Only Alternative 4 preserves the structures and processes developed in law for citizen involvement in resource decisions and avoids the diminution of authority of the public service agency responsible for grizzly bear recovery.@

 

Endangered Species Act

Respondents feel it is essential to maintain full ESA protection with threatened status for grizzly bears in the Bitterroot Ecosystem. This would apply to all bears regardless of whether they immigrated naturally or were reintroduced. Most feel this is necessary to protect the grizzly bear from extinction, and to ensure the success of recovery efforts for the BE.

!?The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed in 1973 for a reason. It is an act which will preserve and protect species for our children and our children's children. I do not want this act weakened, nor do I want the grizzlies delisted from the endangered status until they are neither threatened or endangered.@

!?...support Alternative 4 because it maintains full legal protection for the bears under the ESA for all grizzlies, whether they are reintroduced, immigrate naturally, or are a remnant population, throughout the entire GSSB ecosystem.@

!?Alternative 4 is the only alternative included in the DEIS that complies with the ESA....the FWS is mandated under the ESA to undertake actions to actively promote the recovery of the grizzly bear...@

!?I want ALL grizzly bears to receive full legal protection as a threatened species.@

!?Those bears should enjoy all the rights of the endangered species act and be fully protected.@

Some respondents make the point that Section 7 consultation with the FWS, which will be mandated under threatened status, is very important to provide adequate protection for grizzlies and their habitat.

!?Full protection under the ESA (as in Alternative 4) will mean fewer mortalities than under the scenario where consultation under 7(a) of the ESA has been waived (as in Alternative 1).@

One respondent feels that ecosystem health and commodity production would benefit from ESA protection for grizzly bears.

!?...full protection under the ESA. This protection is critical to the survival of the great bear and benefits the flora, fauna, watersheds, and biodiversity of the entire ecosystem...I am convinced that logging activities can continue and flourish with the entire human, animal, and plant communities much healthier in areas where the grizzly bear receives the full protection of the ESA.@

 

Wilderness Act

One commenter supports Alternative 4 because it is consistent with the intent of the Wilderness Act.

!?Not only is reintroduction good for the species, but it is consistent with the intent of the Wilderness Act.@

 

Local Control

Supporters of Alternative 4 comment grizzly recovery is a national issue, and while it is important to work with local communities that will be impacted by the proposed recovery efforts, decisions on how to implement and manage the recovery project should be made based on national input.

!?I urge consideration of grizzly recovery to be a national issue. I urge the grizzly issue to be a scientific issue, not a political issue, not an emotional issue. I urge implementation of the scientific alternative to conservation biology and Alternative 4. And I urge that any review panel of the grizzly recovery effort be a scientific and national broad review, not a local and political body representing commercial and political interests.@

!?Despite the recent furor over @local control?, as a rule locals are too caught up emotionally in controversial issues...decide matters based strictly on what is best for their pocketbook and have a tendency to stick to their opinion no matter how ill conceived or uninformed it may be.@

 

Best Available Science

Many commenters feel Alternative 4 is superior as it offers the strongest scientific basis for its recovery plan. Some mentioned a number of renowned bear scientists endorse this plan. A few feel science should be the basis for the plan and guide bear management decisions, but citizen input should be considered along the way. There is strong support for the Scientific Committee concept.

!?We owe the grizzly bear and our pertinent public wild lands no less than the best scientific sincere and possibly successful effort we can mount.@

!?Over the long term, we believe this is the most biologically sound approach to reestablishment of grizzlies in the Greater Salmon-Selway region. A system of protected core areas and linkage corridors is likely the best hope of providing a landscape capable of supporting a viable metapopulation of grizzly bears in the Northern Rockies.@

!?We need the best science available to fully implement a recovery plan if these is to be any hope of @delisting? populations of grizzly bear in the lower 48 states.@

!?Management decisions, such as habitat protection, should be based on science helped along by citizen input.@

!?I support the establishment of a scientific committee to define the needs for additional research, develop strategies for reintroduction, and monitor the results of the project.@

!?Alternative 4 makes the most sense from the standpoint of encouraging and maintaining a successful population in the area. Alternative 4 is based on good science...it guarantees expertise in bear management, using as it does a committee of scientists drawn from a variety of stakeholder sources.@

!?Given the high profile of this effort and the questions that have been raised about the adequacy of the scientific arguments for the program, we believe that the establishment of a Scientific Committee to define needs for research, reintroduction strategies, and monitoring cannot harm the program. In fact, it should serve to strengthen it.@

Some supporters of Alternative 4 contrast their enthusiasm for a Scientific Committee and management decisions based in science with their distrust and dislike of the Citizen Management Committee concept proposed by Alternative 1. They feel bear management decisions would be politically and economically driven, rather than based in science considering the best interests of the grizzly bear.

!?Wouldn't it make more sense to put the management of bears in the hands of scientists and bear biologists who are sensitive to the needs of grizzlies rather than citizens who know little about grizzlies and are appointed by politicians more sensitive to bureaucracy than bears?@

!?Management decisions under Alternative 1 will be made by a group of citizens who may be educated in natural resource issues but not necessarily in wildlife biology. Therefore, the committee under Alternative 4 will be more able to make decisions...that result in higher growth rates and a better chance of a successful establishment.@

!?This scientific committee will be qualified to make biologically educated decisions and not dictated by political agendas.@

!?...bear management would reflect bears, science, and the national interest, not just local, state, and timber industry interest.@

 

 

 

 

Grizzly Bear as a Missing Component of the Ecosystem

Respondents feel that since the grizzly bear is native to the BE and evolved with the ecosystem, that its extirpation has had a negative impact and it should be reintroduced to help restore natural functions of the ecosystem. Some state the grizzly bear is an integral component of the food chain and is an umbrella species for health of other wildlife populations. Others think the return of the grizzly to the BE would benefit the ecosystem in unforseen and unquantifiable ways.

!?...will greatly benefit the Greater Salmon-Selway-Bitterroot Ecosystem. ...the reintroduction of the grizzlies into this area will be felt for the good by other animals, birds, insects, and others since the grizzly bear is on top of the food chain.@

!?There may also be ecosystem benefits for grizzly introduction that are not currently apparent.@

A common response is simply that grizzly bears are a missing component of the ecosystem, and they should be reintroduced.

!?...experiencing the wilderness is less complete with the largest carnivore being absent from the picture.@

!?To call these bears @nonessential experimental? is tragic. They are an essential part of the ecosystem and their reintroduction is way over due.@

!?Grizzly bears are a vital ingredient missing from Idaho wildlands.@

 

 

Is Grizzly Bear Native to the Bitterroot Ecosystem

One commenter feels that if a remnant population exists in the BE, implementation of Alternative 4 would benefit them with a larger recovery area.

!?If the theory that they are currently in this area should prove to be fact, there would be even more reason to allow them the greater territory where they might be more able to expand their population numbers.@

 

What is a Viable Grizzly Bear Population

Some people state that the recovery goal of 280 bears is too low, and recent studies by conservation biologists indicate 500 bears is necessary for a viable population.

!?...Alternative 1 calls for a recovery goal of 280 grizzly bears...recent work by conservation biologists would suggest that 500 grizzly bears is more likely to approximate a minimum viable population.@

!?Alternative 4 ...is the only alternative which truly offers hope for a viable, sustainable population of grizzly bears.@

Other respondents address the concept of metapopulation dynamics. They think recovery of a viable grizzly bear population in the BE is necessary to ensure the long-term survival of the Northern Rockies grizzly bear metapopulation.

!?Conservative estimates of a minimum recovery target for a self-sustaining regional population are about 2,000 grizzly bears in the Northern Rockies, with an effective population size of at least 500 individuals, or one quarter of the total population.... The 22,000-square mile recovery zone, prescribed in Alternative 4 for the GSSB ecosystem, could protect enough suitable habitat to eventually sustain up to 900 grizzly bears, thereby doubling the current regional population of its historic range.@

!?Creating an additional viable population of bears in the Selway/Bitterroot area significantly increases the chances for long-term recovery of these bruins.@

!?I believe the long term viability of the species depends on establishing a third major breeding population - connected by wildland corridors to other breeding population centers...@

 

Population Corridors/Linkages

Respondents feel that linkages between grizzly bear populations in the Northern Rockies are critical for genetic interchange and to ensure health and long-term survival of the grizzly bear metapopulation in the lower 48 States. They support Alternative 4 because it is the only alternative that proposes a linkage corridor to the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem. They maintain this corridor would allow natural immigration of grizzly bears from existing northern populations to augment the reintroduced population, and thus increase probability for successful recovery. Respondents also support the proposed study of linkage zones to other grizzly bear ecosystems, because they feel grizzly bear movement between ecosystems is critical and existing linkage areas are not suitable due to habitat fragmentation from land-use activities, human developments, and major roadways.

!?Alternative 4 links the GSSB and the Cabinet Mountains with a habitat linkage corridor to help foster natural grizzly bear movements and genetic interchange. It is the only alternative which includes a linkage corridor. It also begins an immediate study of potential linkages between the Yellowstone and Glacier/Northern Continental Divide Ecosystems. This is a great step as genetic interchange will give a higher rate of success in saving the grizzly.@

!?By creating the corridors to the different populations it will increase the genetic variation of all the populations and their health.@

!?I heard a comment...that if the area was suitable for bears, the bears would have migrated to the area. That's a ridiculous comment...we've got roads and we've destroyed the connected areas. The bears are a very timid creature. They are not going to charge out across the freeway, or across Highway 93 to pursue habitat. Particularly when the habitat they're in is perfectly good.@

A few people favor natural recovery, and think restoration of linkage zones with other ecosystems would encourage bears to naturally immigrate to the BE.

!?I say protect the habitat, restore the vital corridors, create passageways under interstate highways in particular and other heavily traveled highways as well, and the bears will relocate themselves in time.@

!?...efforts should be directed towards habitat preservation and the restoration of migration corridors for bears, along the lines of the suggestions in Alternative 4. Our money, time and energy will be much more wisely spent if we move in this direction and allow bears to expand their range on their own.@

!?USFWS makes an apriori...assumption that the only way to recover the grizzly in the Salmon-Selway is the active transplant of bears. By protecting habitat and establishing linkage corridors with other populations, recovery can be accomplished that is more natural, less intrusive, and thus more likely to succeed in the long term.@

Some respondents mention the creation of linkage corridors will benefit other wildlife species.

!?...it creates linkage corridors that benefit all wildlife, not just grizzly bears. Our elk and deer will benefit from that too.@

!?Corridors are considered essential through the science of conservation biology in protecting and restoring native species.@

!?This system of corridors is an essential requirement of not only grizzly bear habitat, but also of biological diversity.@

One respondent thinks the location of the BE makes it a critical bridge to link the existing grizzly populations to the east and west.

!?A bridge is needed between grizzly bears populations in the Glacier/Bob Marshall, the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem and the small populations in the Cabinet-Yaak, Selkirks and North Cascades. The Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem is a critical bridge between these grizzly populations which exist in relative isolation from each other.@

 

Range Requirements of Grizzly Bear

Respondents feel Alternative 4 provides adequate size and quality of habitat within its proposed 21,645 square mile recovery zone. They believe Alternative 4 will meet the needs of a recovered viable population of grizzly bears, and prefer it to other alternatives because it places priority on the habitat requirements of the bear versus compromising those needs for political reasons. Most respondents mention the grizzly bear's need for large expanses of ?wild@ habitat, and emphasize the need to protect the entire GSSB ecosystem and all of the included wilderness and roadless areas.

!?...the area slated for recovery should include all essential grizzly bear habitat in the ecosystem. This is to ensure ample food and space.@

!?...the proposed 21,645 square miles should be fully protected - this is a very small area compared to the previous extent of habitat.@

! ?The recovery area of Alternative 4 is approximately 4 times the size of the recovery area in Alternative 1. Alternative 4 will result in more freedom of home range selection for individuals, a larger food base when food becomes scarce, less immediate density- dependent influences that will slow growth, and fewer human/bear interactions leading to bear fatalities.@

!?Alternative 4 adequately addresses habitat needs by restoring grizzly habitat (by ripping out logging roads and limiting road densities), protecting the land from further commercial extraction, and encompassing the entire GSSB Ecosystem to provide the maximum amount of habitat possible.@

!?There is lots of food in that Selway-Bitterroot, River of No Return and surrounding wild land ecosystem we call the greater Salmon Selway. Even without the salmon, although the salmon should return, there's plenty of food. There is habitat for them. It's bigger than the greater Yellowstone, it's bigger than the NCDE, and both of those have bears. Bears can survive here.@

 

Effects TO Grizzly Bears

Commenters are concerned about the genetic health of existing grizzly populations, and about insuring the genetic fitness of the reintroduced Bitterroot populations. They think Alternative 4, with its proposed linkage to other existing populations, is the only alternative that will insure genetic diversity and prevent inbreeding depression in the BE and existing populations in other ecosystems. They make the point that genetically healthy populations are more adaptable to environmental constraints and resist disease. One person thinks Canadian bears reintroduced to the BE would provide the necessary genetic heterogeneity.

!?...the Yellowstone population and the Northern Continental Divide populations need to intermix with other bears or their genetics are going to get inbred and eventually extinct. It is absolutely essential that the entire ecosystem system with biological connecting corridors be implemented.@

!?...provide the best chance for genetic interchange with bears in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem and elsewhere.@

!?This genetic interchange would lead to a stronger population of grizzlies because they would be able to genetically evolve due to environmental and physical demands such as global warming and disease.@

!?Reintroducing grizzly bears into the Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem from Canada will provide the genetic diversity needed to produce healthy populations of grizzly bears.@

 

Habitat Security

Respondents think grizzly bears reintroduced into the BE will need secure habitat to minimize human conflicts and human-induced mortality. They support Alternative 4 because it would prohibit management activity in roadless areas, and would reduce existing road densities in the BE. They support habitat protection and habitat restoration for grizzly recovery.

!?Alternative 4 prohibits road building and logging in roadless public lands in the recovery zone, assuring habitat security for grizzlies.@

!?...since survival is paramount to establishing a population, since bear mortalities are directly proportional to human/bear interactions and since Alternative 4 will keep the recovery zone roadless, it will give the released grizzly bears a better chance of achieving recovery.@

!?The closing and abolishment of the Magruder Road and Hells Half Acre Mtn. road as well as stopping roadways into roadless areas will ultimately secure a quicker and more solid recovery of the grizzly in the BE.@

!?Effective management, including limitation of human-caused mortality, means closing roads, reducing road densities, and limiting access to the grizzly bear recovery area for people with guns - that's what Alternative 4 supports.@

 

Effects on Grizzly from Human Incursions Outside Wilderness

Numerous individuals comment extractive activities like logging, mining, and grazing need to be restricted in the recovery zone, and especially in key bear habitats. They also want roadless areas protected from any multiple-use activities. They favor road obliteration and reduction of road densities in linkage areas, and throughout the BE.

!?Alternative 4 is the only proposal to recognize the wisdom of altering land use on public lands for the benefit of biological diversity. Restrictions on logging, mining, grazing, and road building, along with road closure and reclamation, the restoration of habitat...@

!?Mining, logging, and road building are the biggest threats to the grizzly.@

!?Timbering, mining, and road building should be curtailed in the recovery zone until a population of 400-500 grizzlies is established.@

!?Roadless areas need to be protected from road building and road densities need to be limited in key grizzly bear habitat...Continuing to allow timbering, mining, and road building will only destroy key grizzly bear habitat.@

!?The unprotected roadless lands so thoughtfully left sprinkled around the edges of designated wilderness need to be promoted as suitable habitat, and not unfortunately, included in the timber base or exploited as a recreational roaded playground....protect roadless areas.@

 

Ecosystem Protection

The concept of ecosystem protection is a central issue for supporters of Alternative 4. This seems to be equally as important as recovering grizzly bears. The bulk of the comments urge protection for the entire GSSB Ecosystem through habitat protection (road closures and no extractive activities) and restoration (road obliteration). Many commenters make the point that such protection will benefit the entire ecosystem including all flora and fauna, and not just the grizzly bear. Others comment that humans as a part of the ecosystem, will also benefit in the short and long-term from a healthy ecosystem.

!?Such closures would also benefit big game and fisheries. Protecting an entire ecosystem, and not just a certain species, will help the wild species thrive. It is the only alternative that addresses sustain ability in the region.@

!?...benefit many other plant and animal species. The continuation of human existence is dependent on our ability to preserve all other life forms we as a society have @conquered.? To do this we must preserve their natural habitat as well...other animals will also flourish...@

!?...I believe in Alternative 4 because it's based on the science of biodiversity. This alternative protects and restores the habitat involved, which is bottom line for long term species survival. It would protect the habitat of the countless other species, both flora and fauna...@

!?By choosing Alt. 4 the Salmon-Selway-Bitterroot Ecosystem can optimally be preserved. The benefits for the surrounding communities, and people like me that enjoy visiting the beautiful country, of tearing out the roads and not allowing additional logging is much greater than the other 3 alternatives put together.@

!?...encompasses the entire GSSB Ecosystem and includes consideration of the habitat needs of all imperiled species in the ecosystem...recovery of the lynx and wolverine would benefit from adopting Alt. 4...@

!?A sanctuary area with no development activities...@

 

Habitat Restoration

Habitat restoration is another central issue for supporters of Alternative 4. Many believe that restoration of habitats degraded by human activities is essential to protect the ecosystem and aid in the long-term recovery of the grizzly bear in the BE. Commenters think it is time to end human exploitation of the ecosystem, and begin to repair the damage, and protect the remaining ?wild@ areas. The Restoration Areas and Corridor Special Management Area under this alternative are very popular. Respondents support the road obliteration and restoration work for the benefits to the ecosystem and the local economies. Linkage to other ecosystems is mentioned as necessary for grizzly bear recovery and also beneficial to other species.

!?Large scale restoration, such as the Lolo Restoration Area and the Corridor Special Management Area, would greatly improve the chance for long term survival of the species.@

!?...active plan to reduce road densities and obliterate roads within the Corridor Special Management Area...will not only improve the chances for natural immigration to the Bitterroot Recovery Area and occupation by resident grizzly bears, it will also benefit other species such as bull trout, elk, and other sensitive species.@

!?...it's the only alternative in the DEIS that provides mechanisms and programs for protecting and restoring habitat in the Salmon-Selway country.@

!?This alternative would provide more habitat for the bears by restoring old roads to their natural condition and providing a corridor linking the Cabinet and Bitterroot Mountains.@

!?I support the plan to restore grizzly bear habitat that has been degraded by human development. This practice not only increases the chances of grizzly bear survival, but also will provide important employment for displaced workers in the region.@

!?...addresses the wider needs of the ecosystem...prohibits logging and road building...Roads contribute to the pollution of streams, cause the fragmentation of habitats, and contribute to erosion. This creates problems for fish and wildlife. By removing many existing roads, Alternative 4 goes beyond protection, and is a step to restore some of the damage done...@

!?...addresses the critical issue of habitat fragmentation by protecting existing roadless areas and restoring habitat through the removal of 3,500 miles of logging roads to restore habitat linkage corridor and other areas. Road densities would be limited to 0.25 miles/square miles in the restoration zones.@

Effects of Grizzlies

General comments regarding the effects of grizzlies indicate supporters of Alternative 4 are willing to accept potential negative impacts from grizzly bears in the BE, and comments tend to downplay and even dismiss these impacts.

!?Grizzlies are in the Scapegoat, Bob Marshall, Great Bear, Glacier & Yellowstone Park, and in those areas it is not the end of the world for people and their pets & livestock. So, why not put grizzlies in the relatively vast area of the Salmon-Selway-Bitterroot...@

 

Effects of Grizzlies on Human Health and Safety

Supporters of Alternative 4 downplay the risk to human safety from grizzly bears. They think the recovery zone is so large that the chance of a human encountering a bear is remote, and they list numerous other greater threats to human safety. Respondents feel the appeal of wilderness is the potential inherent danger, and the grizzly exemplifies the ?wild@ in wilderness. They suggest that humans will just have to be more aware and careful in the backcountry, but feel it is worth any inconvenience to have grizzly bears returned to the BE.

!?...you have way better chance of being shot by a hunter out in the wilderness than you do being eaten by a grizzly bear. If we lived in a city, we'd have to worry about gangs and urban violence; but we don't, we live in a beautiful state where we have wilderness where we can go out and enjoy.@

!?I have more fear of driving here than I do from a mauling.@

!?There is a small risk of one getting me when I hike or climb there but that's the price we pay for wilderness.@

!?...four hundred grizzlies in Alt. 4, over 22,000 square miles...the chance of anyone running into a grizzly and getting in trouble is really remote, and the opportunity...to restore the bear to its historic habitat is a tremendous opportunity and a privilege for all of us...@

 

Effects of Grizzlies on Hunting Opportunities

Respondents feel Alternative 4 would have a positive impact on hunting opportunities, through protection of wildlife habitat in roadless areas which would increase habitat security and wildlife populations. They also support elimination of black bear baiting and hound hunting in Idaho.

!?...set the two alternatives side by side, one that conserves the larger roadless space would, in fact, preserve hunting opportunities and that's a pretty clear relationship between habitat security, wildlife populations and hunting opportunities.@

!?Alternative 4 is the only alternative that addresses the need to address hunting practices in the region to protect the grizzly. In this alternative @The State of Idaho would be requested to eliminate the use of dogs and bait for hunting black bears,? within the recovery zone. It is foolish to risk the loss of the grizzly for a hunting practice when alternatives exist. Dogs and bait are not needed to hunt black bears, and this practice might hurt the recovering grizzly population.@

Effects of Grizzlies on Outfitters and Guides

One person thinks there will be plenty of people hiring outfitters to show them a grizzly in the BE, and disputes the argument that outfitters will be put out of business. Another person sees a benefit to sanitation orders in bear country, that outfitters will be forced to keep clean camps.

!?There are people that pay money to have me take them out there and camp in grizzly country.@

!?...Outfitters, if guiding in bear country, would no longer feel free to maintain a slovenly camp.@

 

Effects of Grizzlies on Recreational Opportunities

Again, respondents see positive benefits to backcountry recreation from having the grizzly present, and are willing to take precautions and deal with and inconveniences.

!?I am willing to use precautions and educate myself to be more prepared in grizzly country.@

!?If one has a rare opportunity to actually see a grizzly, it is the highlight of their trip, and they talk for weeks or years about how they saw a grizzly.@

 

Effects of Grizzlies on Other Wildlife Species

A few respondents comment on the benefits to other wildlife species from the reintroduction of grizzly bears and the habitat protections proposed under Alternative 4.

!?An important benefit of maintaining and restoring grizzly bear populations in the Greater Salmon Selway Ecosystem is that if protection of grizzly bear habitat is fully accomplished, the myriad of those other animal species finding important habitat in these federal lands will be served also.@

!?Because the grizzly is an umbrella species, if it survives so will other species.@

!?...by adopting the CBA not only would grizzlies benefit, but other wildlife species such as elk, and trout as well.@

A few respondents comment on the benefits to other endangered species:

!?...protecting grizzly bear habitat also helps other endangered species, thereby saving the government money.@

!?Restoration efforts provided for by alternative 4 would have multiple species benefits, rolling up roads in northern Idaho would have many watershed benefits, which would in turn benefit native salmonids.@

 

Spiritual/Cultural/Social

Commenters stress the importance of reestablishing the grizzly in historic habitat in the BE to restore the ?wild@ component to the wilderness, and because humans should share the land with all other species rather than attempt to conquer it. Many mention they want their offspring to enjoy grizzly bears, and fear grizzlies will go extinct without reintroduction in the BE. People value the spiritual connection with nature, and feel the presence of the ?magnificent grizzly@ enhances this connection.

!?Reintroduction would bring back a magnificent animal and restore the @wild? to our wilderness lands. ...I just hope that I'll be able to hike on the upper Selway in the near future and know that grizzly bears roam there, even if I never get the opportunity to see one. Then again, maybe I'll get lucky.@

!?...we have another opportunity to reintroduce a species to its historical lands. I believe we must use this opportunity to show that we value things other than the dollar. ...Alternative 4 is the only alternative that can show our fullest commitment and full willingness to set aside concerns of profit in favor of reestablishing ourselves as partners in, rather than controllers of our environment.@

!?Without the bear, the landscape is poorer, as Camas and Bitterroot have declined in the absence of the grizzly, so too does wilderness. It's troubling to think that my grandchildren may not have the opportunity to encounter wild grizzlies.@

!?People like me are able to rediscover our place in the universe when we travel in areas we share with the great bears.@

 

 

 

Some discuss their enjoyment of watching the grizzly bear, or of knowing it is there.

!?People come from all over the world to Katmai Park to see bears...because they come from places where there are no bears. And they feel that it's an important thing, and it's valuable to them. I feel very much the same way about the Bitterroot.@

!?I believe that people come to visit and to live in and around wild places...wilderness, not despite the fact that grizzlies are there, but because of it.@

 

Cost of Program to Taxpayers

Respondents support Alternative 4 because they feel their tax money will be better spent recovering grizzly bears than in government subsidies to timber, mining, and grazing industries. They also think that the costs of the program are well worth it. They also state that many regional economists support the plan.

!?As a taxpayer, I would much rather see this money going toward protecting the roadless areas of Idaho, than the building and maintaining of roads for the logging industry which only destroys these areas that I know and love.@

!?I'm tired of my tax dollars being used for logging and mining and welfare grazing and I want my tax dollars to be used to bring back the grizzly bear.@

!?Then they complain about the cost of the grizzly reintroduction which is likely to be about four hundred thousand dollars a year. They say this is too expensive but I'll tell you what isn't. Four hundred thousand dollars a year means about a cent and three-quarters for each person in the United States. Is that really a hell of a lot of money, a cent and three-quarters a year? Reintroduce the grizzly.@

!?Many regional economists have also endorsed the plan, which would protect fisheries, water quality and native forest lands, along with restoring a needed migratory bridge for bear populations.@

 

Effects on Local Economy

Many commenters support Alternative 4 because the habitat restoration program will create new jobs, and these will more than offset timber industry jobs lost due to restrictions on extractive industries. Habitat restoration and protection will also preserve the natural environment which currently provides a major input to local economies through hunting, outfitters and guides, tourism, etc. This preservation of the natural landscape will insure the future health of local economies by attracting businesses and people interested in ?quality of life@ to the area.

!?The jobs created will involve obliterating environmentally destructive roads and preserving the beautiful environment that attracts and holds business (Garrity 1996). ...The economic future of this area depends on its natural landscape.@

!?Economists support this approach because it will create many recreation type jobs, beautifying the economy, and luring many corporations to these communities due to the higher living standards that will be created.@

!?The economics of Alternative 4 are more positive than the other 3 alternatives. This area has a huge economic stake in quality wildlife habitat for hunting, fishing, recreation, and tourism. These industries and the fact that restoration will create many high paying jobs suitable for timber communities, speaks to the economic benefit of this alternative.@

!?Grizzly bears can return with benefits to our economy, culture and livelihood. The conservation biology alternative is pro-people and pro-bears and it can work.@

Some people used the economic analysis by Garrity (1996) that was prepared for the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, in their comments. These numbers do not necessarily correlate with the economic analysis in the DEIS.

!?...it saves taxpayers $69 million over the other alternatives and creates 1500 jobs obliterating logging roads. These high paying jobs will benefit the local communities of Idaho and Montana....The other alternatives all allow logging of roadless areas which will cost taxpayers $137 million.@

!?While implementation of Alternative 4 will include the loss of resource extraction jobs, it creates more than 1500 jobs associated with restoration. ...will save taxpayers millions of dollars each year which would normally be used to build roads in the National Forest.@

One person commented that expenditures by federal and state governments to mitigate endangered species habitat damage from logging should be included in the economic analysis.

!?To mitigate the damage to grizzly bear from subsidized logging, federal and state governments spent $9.8 million on grizzly bear recovery in 1990 and 1991 and $978,000 million on recovery of the woodland caribou in 1990 and 1991. The subsidized logging of the FS directly leads to more spending by the FWS. This needs to be reflected in the final EIS.@

 

Need for Education

Commenters stress the need for information and education outreach programs to diffuse fear of grizzly bears, inform the public about safe camping techniques for bear country, and help correct the misinformation that exists.

!?With education and the use of bear proof containers for all backpackers, the humans and grizzly bears live side by side.@

!?The public needs to be educated about the risks of bears, and the true likelihood of ever seeing one. The public needs to accurately understand the risks versus unfounded fears and political grandstanding. Idaho's elected politicians are shameful with their misinformation.@

!?...public education promotion can help us all realize that we can live with the grizzlies.@

 

Political Influence

Respondents want science and not politics to guide the recovery effort. They think if politics are allowed to drive the planning and implementation of the project, that it is doomed to fail, and this will set a dangerous precedent for similar efforts.

!?I am in full support of the grizzly reintroduction program as proposed in Alternative 4. The other alternatives are political compromises designed to fail by their restrictions.@

!?Hopefully you will see that science based considerations not political should be the final determining factors.@

!?Big money politics guiding decision making will doom the bear and set dangerous precedent for other species.@

 

CRITICISMS OF ALTERNATIVE 4

General Comments

Relatively few (6%) of the respondents who specifically refer to Alternative 4 are critical of it. Some commented about the stringent protection for the grizzly bear and its habitat under this alternative. They feel local residents will not accept grizzly bears with ESA threatened status. They think this will lead to increased illegal take of reintroduced bears from resentful local residents, and they are also concerned about the perceived lack of legal protection afforded local landowners from grizzly bears protected under ESA threatened status. There is concern that private property rights will be subjugated by the ESA protections under this alternative. Others don't think there are any suitable source populations of bears for the BE. Several commenters fault Alternative 4 because it does not provide for any local control in the management of reintroduced bears. One commenter thinks the Scientific Committee concept is unconstitutional.

The habitat suitability for grizzly bears in the large recovery zone is questioned. The Alternative 4 analysis of effects to human safety is questioned, and commenters don't like the fact that more protection is offered the bear than is assured to humans. Many respondents are concerned that Alternative 4 will negatively impact ranching, motorized recreational opportunities, and access to public lands. There are numerous criticisms of the economic analysis for this alternative. One critic thinks this alternative has the ulterior motive of influencing land management decisions, and is not about grizzly bear recovery. Others don't think the alternative is politically feasible.

!?Absolutely the wrong approach (Management Strategies for Alt. 4).@

!?The enormous land-use restrictions would be unacceptable to most Idaho citizens.@

!?People's needs must come first, if we are ever to successfully co-habit with plants and animals.@

!?Alternative 4 is not acceptable. The local populations will not accept the bear as a fully protected (ESA) species.@

!?Flathead Audubon strongly supports the return of the grizzly to the BE...Cannot support Alternative 4 because it fails to assess potential risks to source populations and does not account for the concerns of local citizens.@

!?If grizzlies are brought to the northwest, they won't be the ones that will need to be protected, it will be all the rest of the animals and humans that are closest to them.@

!?In an area touted for its recreational opportunities, this alternative will lead to road closures and access restrictions that will reduce those opportunities.@

!?Alternative 4 is all about influencing land management decisions and nothing about successfully reintroducing grizzly bear. Those that helped craft and are now pushing Alternative 4 are totally insensitive to the welfare of grizzly bear.@

!?Not politically possible and does not reflect the present concern the FWS feels for the impact of bear recovery on the public.@

 

Question the Data Used

One person thinks there are currently enough grizzly bears for the species to be delisted.

!?Alternative 4 should not even be a consideration as there is enough evidence that the grizzly bear population is adequate to be considered for de-listing.@

Another person questions the FS timber data used in the DEIS analysis of effects.

!?Based on the best available data (Tom Wittinger, Flathead Forest, pers.comm.), it is estimated that reductions in timber harvest on national forest lands within the PAA would be between 43 and 194 million board feet per year over the next decade if Alternative 4 grizzly bear recovery were implemented@...pers. comm. from the Flathead? This makes this entire statement meaningless...What RELEVANT documentation and methodology supports such a conclusion? The Planned Allowable Sale Quantity (ASQ) used to supply the high number (194 mbf) when assessing reductions in timber harvests under Alternative 4 is worthless. This number comes from outdated Forest Plans. The lower number (43 mbf) is more meaningful...the actual cut in recent years (4-55).?

 

Illegal Killing of Bears

Commenters make the point that Alternative 4 is the most protective of the bear and will have the greatest impact on public land use and local economies, which will cause local resentment and increase illegal killing of bears. They also feel if this is ?rammed down the local residents' throats@ it will elicit the 3-S management system (shoot, shovel, and shut-up).

!?Although Alternative 4 would offer the most extensive habitat and legal protection for reintroduced grizzly bears, it would impose the greatest restrictions on use of public lands in the BE...such restrictions on use of public lands would likely bring resentment leading to higher bear mortality due to illegal @takings? and could have a negative impact on future large predator reintroductions.@

 

Regulated Public Killing (Take) of Grizzly Bears

One respondent fears the ramifications to Bitterroot Valley landowners of protecting themselves from grizzly bears reintroduced under threatened status.

!?Placing the bears under the full protection of the ESA will prevent residents of the Bitterroot Valley from protecting themselves, their property and livestock from bear attacks, of force them to face the risk of going to jail and being prosecuted, simply for exercising their natural right to an act of survival.@

 

Bear Sources

A few commenters think either there are no appropriate source populations for the BE, or bears should not be translocated from the source populations in the lower 48 states listed in the DEIS.

!?The only problem I have with Alternative 4 is that the bears are to be moved from another habitat. I do not think there are any source populations of grizzlies anywhere that could be a source for reintroduction/removal.@

!?I am not in support of any bear transportation including areas in Yellowstone, Glacier, or Northern Continental Divide.@

 

Consultation with Fish & Wildlife Service

One critic thinks the FWS Section 7 Consultation process should be open to public comment.

!?The agency does not provide for public input into Section 7 consultation procedures although decisions made will impact their way of life, property and employment opportunities.@

 

Restriction on Use of Public Lands

Critics of Alternative 4 feel the stringent land use restrictions will not be acceptable to the local residents, and will ultimately cause the failure of the reintroduction program.

!?If we go ahead with Alternative 4 and we ram this down the throats of the people who live in this region...They aren't going to take well to having increased restrictions on their economic activities and increased restrictions on their access to the back country. And what you're going to see is a grass roots response to the 3-S system...shoot, shovel, and shut-up.@

 

 

Private Property Rights

Alternative 4 critics think the grizzly bear is given precedence over human needs and specifically, private property rights.

!?This is the most offensive choice of them all...What they don't say is that the buffer zones and corridors that will be created will include @Privately Owned? lands and areas currently open to @Public Access,? which will be taken away from the current owners and/or users. How do you plan to do this? Will you acquire the property via Emminent Domain, paying the owners for their lands, or simply steal it via the ESA, allowing the owners to keep title to it, and to pay taxes on it, but never to be able to develop it, to sell it, or to use it for any useful enterprise?@

Endangered Species Act

People are critical of the ESA threatened status of grizzly bears. Some think there is evidence that grizzly bears as a species are not threatened, while others think they should not be reintroduced to the BE until the ESA is changed to be more responsive to human needs. One commenter thinks the local residents will not accept fully threatened bears in the BE.

!?Until the ESA is changed to value people over any other resources, this alternative should not even be considered.@

!?No. 4 alternative: should not even be a consideration as there is enough evidence that the grizzly bear population is adequate to be considered for delisting.@

 

Local Control

Commenters feel local residents will not accept Alternative 4 because it will force too many restrictions and regulations on them, without providing them the opportunity to influence the program and protect their concerns.

!?We have enough government control on us and we most certainly don't need this.@

!?...fear this alternative will be viewed as one more heavy-handed Federal program being forced on the locals.@

!?Once politics have been removed from the issue, we believe there will be good acceptance by local folks who will have good ideas on how to make the program work (referring to Alternative 1). This is not true if Alternative 4 is selected.@

 

Best Available Science

One person thinks the Scientific Committee concept doesn't allow for influence by affected parties in the decision making process.

!?The use of a scientific committee establishes a precedent of government bureaucracy making decisions using scientific expertise instead of representatives from groups affected by the decisions... this precedent is undemocratic and may also be unconstitutional.@

 

Is the Grizzly Bear Native to the Bitterroot Ecosystem

Some think they aren't native to the BE and some think they are.

!?We never had them and don't want them!@

!?Apparently, a major reason for the reintroduction is to build a sustainable population within the Rocky Mountains and essentially link the NCDE and YE populations. The implication being that the present two populations are not self sustaining and need the support of a third population. This I question in itself since grizzly sightings aren't uncommon in areas as populated as Dixie, Idaho.@

 

Effects TO Grizzly Bears

Commenters question the adequacy of the habitat for grizzly bears in the large Alternative 4 recovery zone. They feel it is too land greedy.

!?Too land greedy, includes large areas with inadequate or questionable habitat. Imposes ESA restrictions over 16,000 square miles of national forests with questionable and nonexistent grizzly habitat.@

 

Ecosystem Protection

One commenter thinks Alternative 4 is too radical in the realm of ecosystem protection to be implemented in one step.

!?I support habitat conservation and wilderness preservation, but believe this alternative is a big step to take at once.@

 

Effects of Grizzlies on Human Health and Safety

Critics of Alternative 4 question the analysis of effects to human safety, and they also don't like the thought that the bears will be given more protection than humans will be given. One person thinks the EIS should analyze the effect of humans on grizzly bears.

!...environmental effects analyzed by the DEIS indicate that threats to human safety would be equal to those projected under the Proposed Alternative, despite the fact that the recovered population under Alt. 4 is 30% greater than that under Alternative 1.

!?...this alternative ignores the human element and how it affects bear populations.@

!?The bears are a risk, and it will lead to many more people feeling like they need to carry guns into the backcountry.@

 

 

 

 

Effects of Grizzlies on Livestock and Pets

!?FWS needs to better specify how it will respond to loss of livestock or other human/bear conflicts under this scenario.@

 

Effects of Grizzlies on Recreational Opportunities

Respondents are concerned Alternative 4 will limit their recreational opportunities in the backcountry, to include motorized vehicle access.

!?On page 4-51, under the Impacts on Public Access and Recreational Use, the DEIS states, @There might be a slight decrease in visitor use under this alternative as compared with Alternative 1 due to restricted access from the proposed road closures. This may be offset, however, by an increase in visitors seeking a remote backcountry experience.? Alt. 4 would eliminate 3,500 miles of road within the recovery area. This would make many backcountry scenic areas that are popular now unavailable to the recreationists because of their time limitations. In addition, these roads provide access for fishing, hunting, and driving or pleasure on National Forest lands. The DEIS fails to state whether these closed roads would be available for off-highway vehicle (OHV) use. From our previous experience, in the FWS comments on land management plan revisions, OHV use would not be allowed on these closed roads. This alternative would effectively kill the OHV recreation industry in central Idaho.@

 

Effects of Grizzlies on Public Access

Critics of this alternative think the DEIS underestimates the impacts to public access and recreation opportunities. They are concerned that the road closures to meet the 0.25 miles per square mile road densities will essentially lock them out of the recovery zone to include the two wilderness areas. They are against the closure of the Hells Half Acre Road and the Magruder Corridor Road.

! ?(Correction regarding summary of Alternative 4 page xxiii)...Public access would be negatively impacted because 3,500 miles of roads including main well-traveled roads to popular recreation areas would have to be closed in order to meet the within the recovery zone. Backcountry recreationists would no longer be able to reach the center of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness because of the elimination of the roads.@

!?This alternative uses the grizzly bear as a means to exclude people from vast areas. It is less about the bear than it is about returning thousands of square miles into some imagined pristine wilderness where, if humans are allowed at all, they are closely controlled.@

!?On Page 4-52, the DEIS expects that there would be no trail closures under Alt. 4. Would this apply to all recreational trail users including OHV recreationists? From our previous experience we would expect the FWS to try to close many trails currently available for OHV recreation.@

 

 

Cost of the Program to Taxpayers

Commenters question the economic analysis for Alternative 4 because it has the same existence value as Alternative 1 which has a lower recovery goal. They also question the accounting of job loss and gain. Others think the expense will be enormous, and don't think it is a priority.

!?FWS uses biased language in highlighting Alternative 4. It states that hunting losses will total $288,700/yr. From where does this figure come? It also points to job losses from Alternative 4, but fails to account for the long-term nature of the wildland reclamation jobs that will result from the implementation of this alternative.@

!?Existence values are the solitary source of benefits derived from implementation of this alternative. ...The DEIS allocates a similar value to passive use in the Proposed Alternative, even though there are 30% more bears @recovered? under Alt. 4.@

!?It also makes it clear that management and monitoring of the bear in this vast area will be a significant federal expense.@

!?Waste of time, money, manpower that I would rather see used for deer and elk management.@

 

Effects on Local Economy

Respondents criticize Alternative 4 because of the negative economic impacts it would have to existing extractive industries like mining, logging, and grazing. They think it would seriously affect local economies, and they are intolerant of the potential job loss in traditional industries.

They also question the existence value calculation because it is intangible and doesn't make up for the market value cost they would incur.

!?This option would impact the livelihoods of too many people within the Recovery Zone...if some people who make their living related to extractive industries have to move out of the area if a mill or mine closes? I think the claim that reintroduction is going to generate millions of dollars per year is pure b.s.@

!?Alternative 4 would result in reduced choices for our resources and have a severe adverse economic impact on our region.@

!?It is irresponsible to knowingly propose anything that might cause the loss of even one job...let alone submit a plan which could cause up to 1,136 people to loose their jobs.@

Need for Education

One person thinks Alternative 4 does not provide adequate education about human safety.

!?This alternative fails to provide for education about public safety. It offers little or no protection for local landowners or others whose way of life and property may be affected.@

Political Influence

People criticize this alternative because they feel it is not politically feasible because it is too restrictive, and it does not represent the FWS concern for impacts of bear recovery on the public.

!?Not politically possible and does not reflect the present concern the FWS feels for the impact of bear recovery on the public.@

!?...alternative is too restrictive even though it would seem to be the most expedient method of reintroduction.@

 

SUGGESTED MODIFICATIONS TO ALTERNATIVE 4

General Comments

Some of the respondents (16%) who specifically refer to Alternative 4 provide suggestions for change. There are a few requests for additional analysis to determine habitat adequacy. An extremely popular requested modification to this alternative is to not use threatened populations of grizzly bears as source populations for the BE, but instead to allow the Scientific Committee to determine if other unthreatened populations could provide bears for reintroduction to the BE. A few oppose using Canadian bears for reintroduction, while others encourage the use of bears from Canada and Alaska. Others are not in favor of reintroduction of bears into the BE, but would support Alt. 4 without reintroduction and increased focus on natural recovery. Some commenters want more specific monitoring measures, and others don't want reintroduced bears radio-collared and monitored. Some comments suggest the incorporation of a Citizen Management Committee into Alternative 4...i.e., combining the strengths of Alternative 1 and 4. One person wants Alternative 4 changed to give reintroduced bears ?experimental essential@ status under ESA 10(j). A few respondents think the recovery goal should be determined by the Scientific Committee, and not at this early stage. A few people want Alternative 4 to designate other linkages to the YE and NCDE. One person thinks an aggressive habitat restoration program should be implemented and reintroduction delayed, while another person thinks the habitat restoration program in Alternative 4 is too aggressive, and FWS Section 7 consultation would adequately protect grizzly bear habitat. Commenters emphasize the need for an intensive, and proactive public information and education campaign to be initiated well before reintroduction occurs.

!?...writing to support reestablishment of ...don't think any of the alternatives are adequate, however, we favor a modified Alternative 4.@

!?We also suggest adding a change to Alternative 4 to say that no bears may be taken from threatened populations including the Greater Yellowstone and Glacier/Northern Continental Divide ecosystems for reintroduction to Idaho. Instead, let the Scientific Committee determine whether there are unthreatened populations which can provide a source of bears for reintroduction.@

!?...I am not, however, in favor of taking grizzlies from existing groups for reintroduction. I believe the grizzly...will return on his own...@

!?...scientific committee must determine if a source of bears exists from a healthy population, and whether bears must be relocated at all. The CBA focuses on NATURAL recovery. Only as a LAST RESORT should bears be relocated into the Salmon-Selway.@

!?We also believe that the Citizen's Management Committee is crucial to the success of Alternative 4, as it will ensure that local values are respected and allow for direct accountability for management actions. We would welcome the opportunity to participate in the selection of that committee's membership.@

!?...it's a symbol of wilderness and I don't want to see a grizzly bear with a radio collar.@

!?No apriori number of grizzly bears should be determined for recovery. This must be determined by a scientific committee.@

 

Corrections to Facts and Data in the DEIS

!?We wish the DEIS to be amended to add back in the descriptive language for the duties of the Scientific Committee, and member qualifications, as originally submitted to the FWS.@

 

Additional Analysis Needed

!?It would be my preference, if it can be shown that the food base is adequate or will be adequate by the time bears are present to implement Alternative 4.@

 

Bear Sources

The majority of comments on source populations of grizzly bears want Alternative 4 to be modified to include a provision that no bears would be taken from threatened populations for reintroduction into the BE, and the Scientific Committee would determine whether there are unthreatened populations which could provide a source of bears for reintroduction. Some people support the source populations in Canada and Alaska, and others don't want bears taken from Canada if it would be detrimental to populations there. Others comment that they are opposed to reintroduction of any bears into the BE, and the alternative should be modified to foster natural recovery only. A few people suggest alternative sources for grizzly bears to include zoos, research facilities, and crossfostering of orphaned cubs by black bears.

!?We also suggest adding a change to Alternative 4 to say that no bears may be taken from threatened populations including the Greater Yellowstone and Glacier/Northern Continental Divide ecosystems for reintroduction to Idaho. Instead, let the Scientific Committee determine whether there are unthreatened populations which can provide a source of bears for reintroduction.@

!?We support Alternative 4 with the following important changes: 1) source bears for translocations should not be taken from the NCDE or GYE... 2) before considering southeast British Columbia as a source for translocating grizzly bears, the FWS must establish and document in the FEIS - in collaboration with appropriate Canadian biologists and officials - that removing bears from this area will not adversely impact existing Canadian grizzly populations, or transboundary migrations of bears to and from the North Fork of the Flathead River drainage and subsequently the NCDE... 3)existing plans in the DEIS for translocating grizzlies into the BE should not be considered acceptable and should be rejected and reconsidered...@

!?...both Alternative 1 and Alternative 4 are flawed, because they both proposed removal of ESA-listed female bears from YE and NCDE ecosystems for reintroduction in Idaho. Alternative 4 could be modified to allow its scientific committee to determine if and where unthreatened populations can produce source bears for reintroduction beyond these two populations.@

!?The DEIS identifies subadult grizzlies with no history of conflict with humans as the most likely candidates for reintroduction to the BE. Subadult grizzly bears, from populations not considered threatened, that may have some history of conflict with humans might be candidates for reintroduction to the BE. If this type of bear can be relocated within its own ecosystem, it should also be a candidate for relocation to another ecosystem. Grizzlies having no history of conflict with humans and enjoying protection as a threatened species under the ESA in the NCDE and YE should be left alone.@

!?I am adamantly opposed to relocation of grizzlies, especially from populations already in danger such as Yellowstone and Bob Marshall. I would support Alternative 4 if it prohibited relocation.@

!?...to take bears from the already threatened base will make them more threatened because of the mortality rate of moving them to unfamiliar territory.@

!?The removal of grizzly bears from the YE and NCDE, as proposed by Alternative 4, is totally unacceptable and is illegal. All grizzly bears in these two ecosystems are listed as threatened under the ESA. The removal of grizzlies from their homes in Canada for relocation to the BE is also not acceptable. Potential sources of grizzly bears for reintroduction to the BE which should be considered first are zoos, research facilities, and orphaned cubs. I am not suggesting that every grizzly bear in a zoo or research facility is a strong candidate for freedom in the Bitterroot Mountains. I am simply saying that some bears in these situations should be evaluated as potential candidates for reintroduction in the BE.@

!?I urge you to support Alternative 4 of the DEIS for grizzly reintroduction to the Salmon- Selway Bitterroot Ecosystem. I also urge that the reintroduced grizzlies come from Canada or Alaska.@

!?During reintroduction, no bears be taken from threatened populations including the YE and NCDE. Continue efforts to work with Canadian scientists. Efforts with wolf reintroduction from Canadian populations has been deemed successful so this should serve as a model.@

!?The bears originally intended for reintroduction were to come from Canada. Let it remain so.@

!?...would also accept a radical variation of #4, an experimental population of grizzlies gained from interspecific transfostering (crossfostering) of grizzly cubs by black bears in an effort to produce a population less likely to return to Canada and other points of origin.@

 

 

Monitoring/Evaluation

A few commenters don't want reintroduced bears radio-collard and monitored because they are wild animals, and it detracts from the wilderness experience. One person wants more specific monitoring measurements as outlined in the Alliance for the Wild Rockies proposed alternative.

!?...measurements of progress submitted in the original proposal...should be amended into Alt. 4. These provide a sound basis for judging the progress of the recovery effort and provide vital information needed for any course adjustments.@

!?...we object to the proposal that all bears @be radio collared and monitored to determine their movements...and to keep the public informed on general bear locations and recovery efforts.?

 

Citizen Management Committee

A number of respondents want a modification of Alternative 4 to include a Citizen Management Committee as described in Alternative 1, or a least include some local citizens on the Scientific Committee to insure local concerns are heard in the decision-making process.

!?A Citizen's Management Committee, as described in Alternative 1, should be appointed to develop management plans and policies for management of grizzly bears within the recovery zone and habitat linkage corridor. These plans and policies would need to conform with all of the protections required with threatened status under the ESA.@

!?...the ideal would be Alternative 4 with a citizen committee outlined in Alternative 1 to be integrated with the scientific committee of #4.@

!?...incorporate the advisory team established by informed scientists, concerned citizens, as well as appointed officials of the States.@

!?...I...support Alternative 4...but with a change that basically has people involved in a committee where they can have a voice and speak to the reintroduction of grizzly bears.@

!?State officials, and local, should be consulted, of course, but the final decisions should be federal and scientific.@

 

Restrictions on Use of Public Lands

!?...we do not agree with the automatic closure of the Magruder Road under this alternative.@

Endangered Species Act

One person wants Alternative 4 changed to give reintroduced bears ?experimental essential@ status under ESA 10(j).

!?I encourage you to adopt Alternative 4 with the added exception of declaring the population experimental but essential under the 10(j) rule of the ESA...@

 

Local Control

Commenters suggest modifying the Scientific Committee or other decision making processes of Alternative 4 to include local citizens.

!?I would accept some modification to this proposal to make it more palatable to local residents.@

!?...I am also hesitant about bear management being overseen solely by non-scientists. Having a citizen (or community) representative or two on a scientific committee might be worthwhile in order to reduce the hostile sentiments by those against the reintroduction and to involve those whose communities will be most affected by the reintroduction efforts.@

 

Best Available Science

A number of commenters suggest modifications to the Scientific Committee to include local citizens (see Citizen Management Committee above). One comment suggests the Scientific Committee should function in an advisory capacity.

!?No apriori number of grizzly bears should be established...300-500 bears is suspicious...The Conservation Biology Alternative, from which this alternative was drafted makes no mention of the number of bears that would constitute a @recovered? population...These number of bears should be determined by the bears themselves in how they adapt to the available habitat.@

!?The Scientific Committee provided for under Alt. 4 is also and excellent idea, but should clearly function in an advisory capacity...If the States wish to appoint official @Citizen Advisory Committees? to represent Idaho and Montana in discussions with the FWS we would not object. However, handing over control of national public land management to local, political appointees is totally unacceptable.@

!?Management decisions, such as habitat protection, should be based on science helped along by citizen input.@

 

Population Corridor / Linkages

A few people want Alternative 4 to designate other linkages to the YE and NCDE.

!?This alternative establishes a biological corridor between the Bitterroot and the Cabinet- Yaak for genetic transfer and natural bear recovery. I would have hoped that this alternative would have gone one step further and initiated the establishment of a similar corridor along the Bitterroot Divide to the YE.@

!?...specifically a corridor is needed from the Bitterroot to Yellowstone and to the Continental Divide.@

 

Range Requirements of the Grizzly Bear

!?This is not enough area to supply adequate food and space for grizzlies to survive.@

 

Ecosystem Protection

One person thinks an aggressive habitat restoration program should be implemented and reintroduction delayed, while another person thinks the habitat restoration program in Alternative 4 is too aggressive, and FWS Section 7 consultation would adequately protect grizzly bear habitat.

!?I support delaying reintroduction and implementing aggressive habitat restoration program.@

!?Road building and timber harvest on presently roadless lands should not be categorically prohibited. ESA Section 7 consultation with the Citizen Management Committee and the FWS will provide adequate protection for the grizzly and ensure that important timber jobs are retained.@

 

Habitat Restoration

!?Look for opportunities to rehabilitate damaged habitat to more quickly bring those lands back into shape to improve grizzly habitat/corridors. This may include road removal, vegetation rehabilitation, riparian restoration, etc.@

 

Need for Education

Commenters emphasize the need for an intensive, and proactive public information and education campaign to be initiated before reintroduction occurs. They state the need for local citizens to be informed about grizzly bears, so that human/bear conflicts will be minimized.

!?...intensive informational and educational campaign is needed before reintroduction. Local citizens must learn where the grizzly fits into the BE, and must understand the potential economic benefit of the grizzly. Thus, perhaps before this alternative can be implemented, an intensive educational campaign is needed. This may take a number of years. ...we favor Alternative 4, but not now, or not without an extensive public education campaign first. It is not likely to be successful until an intensive campaign informs and educates the local citizens.@

!?An extensive public information campaign to protect people, property, and bears must be developed and made available to all users of the proposed area before reintroductions begin.@