DRAFT

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT


GRIZZLY BEAR RECOVERY IN

THE BITTERROOT ECOSYSTEM

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Bitterroot Grizzly Bear EIS

P.O. Box 5127

Missoula, Montana 59806

July 1997

SUMMARY

Introduction

This summary of the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) describes 4 alternatives that represent different approaches to grizzly bear recovery and management in the Bitterroot Ecosystem (BE) of central Idaho and western Montana. The process used to develop alternatives, and the environmental consequences of implementing each alternative are described. Two alternatives involve reintroducing grizzly bears from other areas in the U. S. and Canada to the BE: Alternative 1 - Reintroduction of a Nonessential Experimental Population (Proposed Action); and Alternative 4 - Reintroduction of a Threatened Population with Full Protection of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Alternative 2 - The No Action Alternative: Natural Recovery, encourages natural recovery of grizzly bears in the BE through range expansion from existing populations. And Alternative 3 - The No Grizzly Bear Alternative, prevents grizzly bear recovery. These alternatives were developed in response to public comments and represent a full range of alternatives for consideration. All issues and concerns identified by the public were considered and the most significant were analyzed in detail. The potential effects of each alternative on human health and safety, source grizzly bear populations, land-use activities, wildlife populations, public access and recreational use, social aspects, and regional economies are described.

Important

In order to be considered in the development of the final plan, comments on the DEIS must be received by September 30, 1997. Public comments will not be available for public review until after the DEIS comment period ends. Copies of the DEIS have been sent to public libraries in Montana and Idaho, and those cities where open houses were held. In addition, several hundred copies of the DEIS were sent to organizations or individuals who represent people who may be significantly impacted by any decision. The DEIS summary document is also available on the internet at: http://www.r6.fws.gov/endspp/grizzly. Those wishing to review the complete draft Environmental Impact Statement, or needing further information should contact:

Dr. Christopher Servheen, Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator / Bitterroot EIS Team Leader

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

P.O. Box 5127

Missoula, Montana 59806

Phone: (406) 243-4903, Fax: (406) 329-3212

PURPOSE OF AND NEED FOR THE ACTION

Purpose. Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) are a part of America=s rich wildlife heritage and once ranged throughout most of the western United States. However, distribution and population levels of this species have been diminished by excessive human-caused mortality and loss of habitat. Today, only 800 to 1000 grizzly bears remain in a few populations in Montana (Northern Continental Divide, Yellowstone, and Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystems), Idaho (Yellowstone, Cabinet-Yaak, and Selkirk Ecosystems), Wyoming (Yellowstone Ecosystem), and Washington (Selkirk and North Cascades Ecosystems). Wildlife species, like grizzly bear, are most vulnerable when confined to small portions of their historical range and limited to a few, small populations. Expansion of the range of the species will increase the number of bears within the lower 48 states and increase habitat size and extent, and further conservation of the species.

The Bitterroot Ecosystem (BE) is one of the largest contiguous blocks of federal land remaining in the lower 48 United States. The core of the ecosystem contains two wilderness areas which make up the largest block of wilderness habitat in the Rocky Mountains south of Canada. Of all remaining unoccupied grizzly bear habitat in the lower 48 States, this area in the Bitterroot Mountains has the best potential for grizzly bear recovery, primarily due to the large wilderness area. As such, the BE offers excellent potential to recover a healthy population of grizzly bears and to boost long-term survival and recovery prospects for this species in the contiguous United States.

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), with support of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC is a group of high-level administrators that represent the federal and state agencies involved in grizzly bear recovery, and coordinate agency efforts in implementing the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan), proposes to recover the grizzly bear and restore this component of the BE by reestablishing the species within this portion of its historical range. The USFWS has determined that there are no grizzly bears in the BE at this time, that recovery of grizzly bears in the BE would facilitate conservation and recovery of the species in the lower 48 States, and that recovery of grizzly bears in the BE would require reintroduction of bears from other areas (USFWS 1993, 1996). The action proposed in this DEIS (USFWS 1997) is to reintroduce a minimum of 25 grizzly bears over a 5-year period from which a population could grow over time.

Need. The grizzly bear was listed as a threatened species in the lower 48 States under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1975 (Federal Register, V.40, No.145, Part IV-3173-4). As such, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was mandated by Congress to conserve listed species and the ecosystems upon which they depend.

The USFWS is the primary agency responsible for recovery and conservation of threatened species, including grizzly bears in the U.S. The Revised Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan (USFWS 1993) and the Bitterroot Ecosystem Recovery Plan Chapter - Supplement to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan (USFWS 1996) identify actions necessary for conservation and recovery of the species. The ultimate goal of the plan is removal of the species from threatened status in the conterminous 48 States.

LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION

This project involves the area defined as the Bitterroot Ecosystem of central Idaho and western Montana in the northern Rocky Mountains. The analysis area considered in this draft EIS is referred to as the Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Primary Analysis Area (PAA) and includes USDA Forest Service lands potentially affected by grizzly bear recovery in the BE of Idaho and Montana (Figure S-1). The heart of the PAA is centered around Wilderness Areas of central Idaho, while a small portion extends over the crest of the Bitterroot Mountains into western Montana.

The PAA includes about 16,686,596 acres (26,073 square miles) of contiguous national forest lands including all or parts of the Bitterroot, Boise, Challis, Clearwater, Lolo, Nez Perce, Payette, Sawtooth, Salmon, and Panhandle National Forests. The center of the area is characterized by 3 large wilderness areas covering a contiguous area of almost 4 million acres (6,250 mi2). These include the Frank Church-River of No Return (2,361,767 acres; 3,690 mi2), the Selway-Bitterroot (1,340,681 acres; 2,095 mi2), and the Gospel Hump (200,464 acres; 313 mi2) Wilderness Areas. The area contains 3 major mountain ranges; the Salmon River Mountains (south of the Salmon River), the Clearwater Mountains which extend from the Salmon River north to the upper Clearwater River drainage, and the Bitterroot Mountains which form the eastern border of the PAA along the Montana-Idaho state line.

Table S-1 presents the basic information about the Bitterroot Ecosystem PAA. It describes the area and may be useful in understanding potential impacts of grizzly bear reintroduction. This information represents the situation that currently exists without grizzly bears in the BE.


Table S-1. A summary of the key characteristics of the Bitterroot Ecosystem Grizzly Bear Primary Analysis Area (PAA) which could potentially be affected by grizzly bear recovery.

Characteristic

Central Idaho

Western Montana

Land (in the 14-county area that encompasses the PAA)




Acres

22,687,424

5,740,560


% Federal Ownership

80

59


% Private ownership

15

38


% National Park, Wilderness, or Wildlife Refuge

17

trace

Public land usesa




Recreational visits/year to national forest lands in the PAA

8,576,995

4,691,400


Acres open to grazing on national forests included in the PAA

4,467,571

348,400


Acres suitable for timber harvest in national forests included in the PAA

4,387,831

1,602,331


Acres of timber projected for harvest annually on national forests included in the PAA

44,368

13,618


Total miles of system roads on national forest lands in the PAA

17,111

9,053


Miles of year-round open system roads on national forest lands in the PAA

7,448

4,114


Miles of closed or restricted access system roads on national forest lands in the PAA

9,664

4,939


Total miles of recreational trails on national forest lands in the PAA

12,439

2,350


Miles of recreational trails open to motorized vehicles in the PAA

6,073

1,474

People/Land Economy (in the 14-county area)




Population (numbers)

103,380

115,681


Population (people/mi.2)

3.2

11.6


Total personal income for Idaho and Montana portions of the PAA (billions of dollars)

3.8


Average per capita income for Idaho and Montana portions of the PAA ($)

16,957.00


Farm income for Idaho and Montana combined (% of total personal income)

3.8 (72% of this comes from livestock)


Local services income for Idaho and Montana combined (% of total personal income)

39.9


Other Industry income for Idaho and Montana combined (% of total personal income)

22.8


Other non-earnedb income for Idaho and Montana combined (% of total personal income)

33.5

Livestock




Numbers of cattle in the 14-county area (spring) of the PAA

295,500

72,300


Number of sheep in the 14-county area (spring) of the PAA

49,045

6,645


Number of livestock on national forest allotments in the PAA (May through October)




Adult cattle and calves

64,589

4,222


Adult sheep and lambs

229,188

0


Horses

939

9


Total livestock

294,716

4,231


Estimated current livestock mortality in the PAA

and surrounding counties from all causes per year

based upon spring cattle and sheep numbersc: cattle




12,314

3.3% loss

(69% calf)




sheep

9,366

16.8% loss

(~72% lambs)




horses

unknown, very low


Ungulate Populations (postharvest estimates)




Elk

82,293

4,861


Deer (mule & white-tailed)

>159,575

21,750


Moose

1,700

-


Bighorn Sheep

1,666

337


Mountain goat

2,017

160


Total ungulate population

247,251

27,108

Ungulate Annual Harvest




Elk

13,366

934


Deer (mule & white-tailed)

19,953

3,480


Moose

161

14


Bighorn sheep

37

16


Mountain goat

35

11


Total ungulate harvest

33,552

4,455


Percent of ungulate population harvested

14

16

Estimated ungulates dying/year (all causes)d

182,509

16,977


Percent of mortality attributable to hunting

19.0

26.0


a A wide variety of land-use restrictions (seasonal and permanent) are employed on public lands throughout the PAA for protection of natural resources and public safety including: on motorized vehicles, construction of structures, Animal Damage Control activities, big game winter range, calving areas, security and migration habitat, raptor nest sites, endangered species, erosion control, wetland protection, to provide a variety of outdoor experiences (motorized or nonmotorized, wilderness or developed, etc.).

b Non-earned income represents investments, entitlements, and retirement income that often does not depend on where a person lives. The growth of this segment of the economy over the last 2 decades results from people with this type of income moving into central Idaho and western Montana because these areas are perceived to have a lifestyle that people want to participate in (wild spaces, abundant wildlife, less crowding, low crime, clean air, etc.).

c Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1994. The reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho. Final Environmental Impact Statement. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Helena, MT.

d Including hunting, crippling loss, poaching, road kill, predation, disease, starvation, drowning, winter kill, accidents, fighting, etc.

THE PLANNING PROCESS

One of the first steps in the planning process was to develop a public participation and interagency coordination program to identify issues related to grizzly bear recovery in the BE and alternatives to be considered in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. Natural resource and public use information was gathered. Previous plans and reports dealing with grizzly bear recovery were reviewed. The USFWS is solely responsible for the DEIS, although representatives from the USDA Forest Service, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and Nez Perce Tribe assisted in preparation. Participation and review by representatives of other agencies does not imply concurrence, endorsement, or agreement to any recommendations, conclusions, or statements in the DEIS.

Issue Scoping

Seven public scoping sessions, in the form of open houses were held in Grangeville, Orofino, and Boise in Idaho; Missoula, Helena, and Hamilton in Montana; and Salt Lake City, Utah; from July 5 to 11 with a 45-day public comment period on the proposal ending July 29, and extended to August 21, 1995. Written comments on preliminary issues and alternatives were received from more than 3,300 individuals, organizations and government agencies. About 80 percent of written responses were from residents of counties in Idaho and Montana adjacent to the proposed recovery areas. All issues were considered, organized into 46 separate headings, and addressed by the USFWS as follows. (Further explanation of the issues/impacts and how they were addressed is provided in the DEIS.)

Twenty-six issues and impacts were addressed / included as part of one or more alternatives:

Management Strategies

Strategies to Control Nuisance Bears

Illegal Killing of Grizzly Bears

Recovery Area (Boundaries, Size, & Range)

Recovery Time

Monitoring and Evaluation

Nonessential Experimental Population & Area

Private Property Rights

Endangered Species Act (ESA)

Ecosystem Management

Grizzly Bears as a Missing Component of the

Ecosystem

Definition of Population Viability for Grizzly Bears

Travel Corridors & Linkages (Range of Grizzly Bears)

Habitat Protection Requirements

Laws, Restrictions, Rights, Authority

Federal, State, Local, and Tribal Authority

Compliance with Forest Plans

Are Grizzly Bears Native to the Bitterroot Ecosystem

Effects on Grizzly Bears from Human Incursions

Outside Wilderness

Population Corridor Linkages

Effects Ato@ Grizzly Bears (Genetics, Disease,

Colonization, etc.)

Habitat Security

Cost of Program to Taxpayer

Education

Political Influence

Enjoyment of Grizzly Bears (Viewing, etc.)

Eleven issues/impacts (consolidated into 7 areas) were analyzed in detail in the DEIS because they could be potentially impacted by grizzly bear recovery strategies:

Effects of Grizzly Bear Recovery on Human Health and Safety

Effects of Grizzly Bear Recovery on Source Populations of Grizzly Bears

Effects of Grizzly Bear Recovery on Land-Use Activities - to include Timber Harvest,

Minerals Extraction, and Livestock Grazing

Effects of Grizzly Bear Recovery on Wildlife

Effects of Grizzly Bear Recovery on Public Access and Recreational Use

Social Effects of Grizzly Bear Recovery

Economic Effects of Grizzly Bear Recovery

Nine issues/impacts were not evaluated further in the DEIS because they were not significant to the decision being made: (Although these issues, as identified by the public (see DEIS Chapter 1 ), were not used to formulate alternatives or analyze effects, most are addressed within the DEIS and Appendices).

Consultation with Fish & Wildlife Service

Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee Guidelines

State or Private Bear Management Specialist

Wilderness Act

Effects of Grizzly Bear on Other Endangered

Species

Effects of Grizzly Bear on Other Animals,

Fish, Birds, etc.

Spiritual/Cultural

Visitor Use

Miscellaneous

Alternative Scoping

The USFWS used preliminary issues identified from public comments received during scoping meetings for the BE Recovery Plan Chapter, and the Notice of Intent to complete an EIS for Recovery in the BE, to formulate three preliminary alternatives. Prior to conducting formal scoping meetings and a comment period, the USFWS proposed these three preliminary alternatives for consideration and published them in a Scoping of Issues and Alternatives brochure that requested ideas and comments from the public. The alternatives were: Alternative 1 - No Action (Natural Recolonization); Alternative 2 - Reintroduction of an Experimental Population (Proposed Action); and Alternative 3 - Accelerated Reintroduction of a Standard (Fully Protected) Population.

Two new alternatives were suggested during the public scoping period. The first proposed alternative entitled The Citizen Management Committee Alternative was submitted by the National Wildlife Federation, Defenders of Wildlife, the Resource Organization on Timber Supply, and the Intermountain Forest Industry Association (USFWS 1995). The second alternative identified was the Alliance for the Wild Rockies Alternative, which was proposed by the Alliance (USFWS 1995).

Alternatives Identified During Scoping, but not Evaluated Further

Alternative 3 that was identified in the scoping document, AAccelerated Reintroduction of a Standard Population@ is not evaluated in this DEIS. Securing 10 non-nuisance grizzly bears per year from similar habitat in the lower 48 States or southern British Columbia is not feasible because of a lack of a suitable number of bears from existing source populations. For this reason the alternative was eliminated.

ALTERNATIVES ANALYZED IN THE DEIS

Four alternatives that represent different approaches to grizzly bear recovery and management were developed for evaluation in the DEIS because they encompass public concerns raised during scoping, and they represent a full range of alternatives. Two alternatives (Alternatives 2 and 3) do not necessarily meet the purpose of and need for action, but were included in the DEIS to be responsive to public comments, to provide a full range of alternatives for consideration, and to meet the requirements of NEPA. All four alternatives reflect public comments and suggestions identified through issue and alternative scoping. The alternatives considered in this DEIS are:

Alternative 1. Reintroduction of a Nonessential Experimental Population Alternative (Proposed Action):

The goal is to accomplish grizzly bear recovery by reintroducing grizzly bears designated as a nonessential experimental population to central Idaho and by implementing provisions within Section 10(j) of the ESA, conduct grizzly bear management to address local concerns. A Citizen Management Committee (CMC), created under a special rule to be published in the federal register, would be tasked with management of this grizzly bear population.

Alternative 2. The No Action Alternative - Natural Recovery:

The goal is to allow grizzly bears to expand from their current range in north Idaho and northwestern Montana southward into central Idaho and western Montana, and to recolonize the BE. The ultimate goal is natural recovery of grizzly bears in the BE.

Alternative 3. The No Grizzly Bear Alternative:

This alternative would prevent grizzly bear recovery in the BE.

Alternative 4. Reintroduction of a Threatened Population with Full Protection of the ESA Alternative:

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.

Description and Impacts of the Proposed Action and Alternatives

Alternative 1. Reintroduction of a Nonessential Experimental Population (Proposed Action):

Summary.-- The purpose of this alternative is to accomplish grizzly bear recovery by reintroducing grizzly bears designated as a nonessential experimental population to central Idaho and implementing provisions within Section 10(j) of the ESA to conduct special management to address local concerns. Section 10(j) provides for reintroduction of experimental populations under special regulations. "Experimental population" designation gives the USFWS more flexibility because such populations can be treated as "a species proposed to be listed" rather than "threatened or endangered". If a reintroduced population of grizzly bears is designated "experimental" and "nonessential" (refers to an experimental population whose loss would not likely reduce the survival of the species in the wild) under the ESA 10(j) amendment, other federal agencies are required only to confer with USFWS on federal activities that are likely to jeopardize the species. Management of a nonessential experimental population can thus be tailored to specific areas and specific local conditions, including meeting concerns of those opposed to reintroduction. Because reintroduced grizzly bears would be classified as a nonessential experimental population, the Service=s management practices can reduce local concerns about excessive government regulation on private lands, uncontrolled livestock depredations, excessive big game predation, and lack of State government and local citizen involvement in the program. A Citizen Management Committee (CMC) would be authorized management implementation responsibility for the Bitterroot grizzly bear experimental population.

The Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Experimental Population Area (experimental population area), which includes most of central Idaho and part of western Montana (Figure S-2), would be established by the USFWS under authority of Section 10(j) of the ESA. This would include the area bounded by U.S. Highway 93 from Missoula, Montana to Challis, Idaho; Idaho Highway 75 from Challis to Stanley, Idaho; Idaho Highway 21 from Stanley to Lowman, Idaho; Idaho Highway 17 from Lowman to Banks, Idaho; Idaho Highway 55 from Banks to New Meadows, Idaho; U.S. Highway 95 from New Meadows to Coeur d=Alene, Idaho; and Interstate 90 from Coeur d=Alene to Missoula, Montana. The experimental population area encompasses approximately 25,140 square miles. The best scientific evidence available indicates there are no grizzly bears in the experimental population area at this time (USFWS 1996). Ongoing grizzly bear monitoring efforts would continue. The USFWS would designate the Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Recovery Area (recovery area) to consist of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness (Figure S-2). The recovery area contains approximately 5,785 square miles.

The first year of implementation would be a Aphase-in@ year where sanitation equipment would be installed in key areas, and information and education outreach programs would be initiated. Grizzly bears would be reintroduced into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness portion of the recovery area during the second year of implementation. Specific reintroduction sites would be recommended by the management agencies to the CMC. The recovery area would be identified as the area of recovery emphasis. Bears moving outside the recovery area would be accommodated through management provisions in the proposed special rule and through management plans and policies developed by the Citizen Management Committee, unless potential conflicts were significant and could not be corrected.

The CMC would be authorized management implementation responsibility by the Secretary of Interior (in consultation with the governors of Idaho and Montana) for the Bitterroot grizzly bear nonessential experimental population. The CMC would be comprised of local citizens and agency representatives from federal and state agencies and the Nez Perce Tribe. Grizzly bear management would allow for resource extraction activities to continue without formal Section 7 consultation under Section7(a)(2) of the ESA. The CMC would be responsible for recommending changes in land-use standards and guidelines as necessary for grizzly bear management. People could continue to kill grizzly bears in self-defense or in defense of others. Following issuance of a permit by the USFWS, the public would be allowed to harass a grizzly bear attacking livestock (cattle, sheep, horses, and mules) or bees. A livestock owner may be issued a permit to kill a grizzly bear killing or pursuing livestock on private lands if it has not been possible to capture such a bear or deter depredations through agency efforts. If significant conflicts occurred between grizzly bears and livestock within the experimental area, these could be resolved in favor of the livestock by capture or elimination of the bear depending on the circumstances. There would be no federal compensation program, but compensation from existing private funding sources would be encouraged. Toxicants lethal to bears are not used on public lands within the recovery and experimental population areas. It is anticipated that ongoing animal damage control activities would not be affected by grizzly bear recovery. Any conflicts or mortalities associated with these activities would result in review by the CMC and any necessary changes would be recommended by the CMC.

Implementation of Alternative 1 would involveImplementation of Alternative 1 would involve.-- The Endangered Species Act Proposed Special Rule 10(j) for Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Grizzly Bears in the Bitterroot Area that is being published in the Federal Register simultaneously with the release of the DEIS, describes what this alternative would involve. This summary includes only highlight points from the proposed rule.

The proposed special rule would:

- Designate much of central Idaho and part of western Montana (see description above) as the Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Experimental Population Area for grizzly bear reintroduction. Designate the Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Recovery Area for recovery emphasis to consist of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness (Figure S-2). Bears would only be released in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, unless the Citizen Management Committee determines that reintroduction in the River of No Return Wilderness is appropriate. Specific relocation sites would be recommended by the management agencies to the CMC.

- Authorize a 15 member Citizen Management Committee (CMC) to be appointed by the Secretary of Interior in consultation with the governors of Idaho and Montana, and the Nez Perce Tribe. This committee would implement the Bitterroot Chapter of the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan (USFWS 1996) and would be authorized management implementation responsibility by the Secretary of Interior, in consultation with the governors of Idaho and Montana, for the Bitterroot grizzly bear experimental population. The CMC would develop management plans and policies, as necessary, for management of grizzly bears in the Experimental Area. All decisions of the CMC must lead to recovery of the grizzly bear in the BE and minimize social and economic impacts. Members would serve six-year terms and would consist of seven individuals appointed by the Secretary of the Interior based on the recommendations of the governor of Idaho, five members appointed by the Secretary of the Interior based on recommendations of the Governor of Montana, one member appointed by the Secretary based on the recommendation of the Nez Perce Tribe, one member representing the USDA Forest Service appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture or his/her designee, and one member representing the USFWS appointed by the Secretary of the Interior or his/her designee. Members recommended by the Governors of Idaho and Montana would be based on recommendations of interested parties and would include at least one representative each from the appropriate state fish and wildlife agencies. If either governor failed to make recommendations, the Secretary would accept recommendations from interested parties on the Governor=s behalf. The CMC is to consist of a cross-section of interests reflecting a balance of viewpoints, be selected for their diversity of knowledge and experience in natural resource issues, and for their commitment to collaborative decision-making. The CMC would be selected from communities within and adjacent to the recovery and experimental population areas. The CMC would continue until recovery objectives were met and the Secretary of Interior completed delisting. Management authority would then revert to the state wildlife agencies.

- Direct the Secretary of the Interior to review two-year work plans submitted by the Committee which outline directions for the Bitterroot reintroduction effort. If the Secretary determines, through his/her representative(s) on the Committee, that decisions of the Committee, management plans, or implementation of those plans are not leading to recovery of the grizzly bear within the experimental population area, the Secretary's representative on the Committee shall solicit from the Committee a determination whether the decision, the plan, or implementation of components of the plan are leading to recovery. Notwithstanding a determination by the Committee that a decision, plan, or implementation of a plan are leading to recovery of the grizzly bear within the experimental population area, the Secretary, who necessarily retains final responsibility and authority for implementation of the ESA, may find that the decision, plan, or implementation of a plan are inadequate for recovery and may resume management responsibility. In such case the Committee would be disbanded and all requirements identified in this rule regarding the Committee would be automatically nullified.

- Emphasize grizzly bear recovery in the Recovery Area, but bears moving outside the recovery area would be accommodated through management provisions in the special rule and through management plans and policies developed by the CMC, unless potential conflicts were significant and could not be corrected, in which case the CMC would develop strategies to discourage grizzly bear occupancy in portions of the experimental area. Grizzly bear management would allow for resource extraction activities to continue without formal Section 7 consultation. All Section 9 Atakings@ provisions under the ESA for the nonessential experimental population of grizzly bears in the BE are included in the special rule. The CMC would be responsible for recommending changes in land-use standards and guidelines as necessary for grizzly bear management. The special rule would continue to allow a person to take a grizzly bear in self-defense or defense of others, provided that such taking is reported within 24 hours to appropriate authorities. Livestock owners would be allowed to take a grizzly bear once a permit has been obtained, the response protocol established by the CMC has been satisfied, and efforts by the wildlife agency personnel to capture depredating bears have been unsuccessful.

- Establish a tentative recovery goal of approximately 280 grizzly bears (bears distributed over 5,785 mi2 of designated wilderness and adjacent lands) occupying suitable habitat within the wilderness and adjacent lands (USFWS 1996). The CMC could recommend a refined recovery goal for the Bitterroot Chapter of the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan, based on scientific advice, once grizzly bears were reintroduced and sufficient information was available. The recovery goal for the Bitterroot grizzly bear population would be consistent with habitat available within the recovery area and the best scientific and commercial data available. Any revised recovery goals developed by the CMC would require public review appropriate for the revision of a recovery plan. Grizzly bears outside the recovery area would contribute to meeting the recovery goal if there were reasonable certainty of their long-term occupancy in such habitats outside the recovery area. The CMC would develop a process for obtaining the best biological, social, and economic data, which would include an explicit mechanism for peer-reviewed, scientific articles to be submitted to and considered by the CMC, as well as periodic public meetings (not less than every two years) in which qualified scientists could submit comments to and be questioned by the CMC.

- Allow for reintroduction of a minimum of 25 grizzly bears into the recovery area over a period of 5 years, until a colony of bears has been established. Using the best scientific evidence available, and standards and criteria developed by the agencies and the CMC, the CMC would determine if bear reintroduction was successful after a period of at least 10 years. If based on these criteria and recommendations by the CMC, the Secretary after consultation with the CMC, states of Idaho and Montana and their fish and game agencies, and the Nez Perce Tribe concludes reintroduction has failed, no more bears would be reintroduced. Any remaining bears would retain their experimental status.

- Authorize Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (MDFWP), and the USDA Forest Service (USFS), in consultation with the USFWS and the Nez Perce Tribe, to exercise day-to-day management responsibility within the experimental population area while implementing the BE Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan Chapter, and the special rules, policies, and plans of the CMC.

The USFWS, USFS, states of Idaho and Montana, and Nez Perce Tribe in consultation with the CMC would release a minimum of 25 grizzly bears into the recovery area over a period of 5 years. Procedures would include:

- Necessary permits, agreements, and archeological site clearances would be obtained, and activities conducted for a scientifically based grizzly bear reintroduction program.

- Subadult grizzly bears of both sexes would be trapped, each year for 5 years, from areas in Canada (in cooperation with Canadian authorities) and the United States that presently have healthy populations of grizzly bears living in habitats that are similar to those found in the Bitterroot Ecosystem. Three sources of grizzly bears for the BE have been identified: southeast British Columbia, the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) population in northwest Montana, and the Yellowstone Ecosystem (YE) population. Specific numbers of bears that could be obtained yearly from potential source populations is unknown at this time. Some undetermined level of mortality is expected among transplanted bears. Every effort would be taken to minimize this, but mortalities are expected to occur. Any transplanted bears that died or were removed as a result of human action could be replaced. Such replacements would be in addition to the original minimum of 25 bears.

- Grizzly bears would be captured and reintroduced at the best time of year to optimize their survival. This would likely occur when grizzly bear food supplies in the BE are optimum. Each individual reintroduced grizzly bear would be radio collared and monitored to determine their movements and how they use their habitat, and to keep the public informed of general bear locations and recovery efforts.

Expected actions and effects of Alternative 1.-- See Tables S-2 and S-3 for a comparison of expected actions and effects of this alternative. The tentative recovery goal of this alternative is approximately 280 grizzly bears (USFWS 1996). Realistically, grizzly bear recovery in the BE could take a minimum of 50 years (4% growth rate), and given potential conflicts, could likely take more than 110 years (2% growth rate). Total annual implementation cost during the 5-year reintroduction period would be approximately $393,632/year, and the total 5-year implementation cost would be approximately $1,968,160. Annual costs for monitoring and citizen management would be approximately $168,000 for each year beyond the 5-year reintroduction period.

A brief summary of effects: A recovered grizzly bear population would kill about 6 cattle (4-7) and 22 sheep (0-44) and up to 504 ungulates per year. This would not measurably impact ungulate populations or hunter harvest. Nuisance bear incidents could be up to 59 (0-118) per year. There would be no anticipated impacts to land use activities on public or private land to include timber harvest, mining, and public access/recreational use. Changes to hunting seasons could occur due to conflicts. Risk to human health and safety from a recovered grizzly bear population would be less than 1 injury per year and less than 1 human mortality every few decades. Economic analyses indicate grizzly bear recovery in the BE would lead to total net economic benefits of 40.4-60.6 million dollars per year. Annual cost would include an implementation cost of $168,000 and livestock loss value of $2,260-$8,000, for a total cost of $170,260-$176,000 per year (cost during the initial 5-year reintroduction phase would be $395,892-$401,635 per year).

Alternative 2. The No Action Alternative - Natural Recovery:

Summary.-- The purpose of this alternative is to allow grizzly bears to expand from their current range in north Idaho and northwestern Montana southward into central Idaho and western Montana, and to recolonize the BE. The ultimate goal is natural recovery of grizzly bears in the BE. Grizzly bears would be allowed to expand their current range in north Idaho and northwestern Montana southward into central Idaho and western Montana. The likelihood of recovery of grizzly bears in the BE through natural recolonization appears remote because grizzly bears do not move far to colonize distant, disjunct areas. If grizzly bears did disperse, they would be protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act wherever they occurred. Because grizzly bears would be fully protected as threatened under the ESA, Section 7(a)(2) would apply upon implementation of this alternative and all federal actions within the recovery zone would be subject to Section 7 consultation with the USFWS. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) nuisance grizzly bear management guidelines (IGBC 1986) would be implemented to address conflicts that occur between grizzly bears and humans. The USFWS would have management authority for all aspects of grizzly bear recovery. It is unknown whether this alternative would result in recovery of grizzly bears in the BE. It was the opinion of the Bitterroot Ecosystem Technical Committee that recovery of grizzly bears in the BE through recolonization is considered a remote possibility because of lack of movement or dispersal by grizzly bears in the northern Rocky Mountains (USFWS 1996). If recovery was achieved, grizzly bears would be removed from ESA protection and the states of Idaho and Montana would continue to manage bears.

Implementation of Alternative 2 would involve:

- The USFWS would designate the Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone as delineated in Figure S-3, and consistent with the 5,500 square mile Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Evaluation Area (BEA) as defined in the Bitterroot Ecosystem Recovery Plan Chapter - Supplement to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan (USFWS 1993, 1996).

- The USFWS would establish a tentative long-term recovery goal of approximately 280 grizzly bears (bears distributed over 5,500 mi2 of designated wilderness and adjacent lands) within the recovery zone (USFWS 1996) (Figure S-3).

- Primary grizzly bear management responsibility would reside with the USFWS and include active participation by federal land management agencies, the states of Idaho and Montana, and the Nez Perce Tribe.

- The USFWS would conduct an extensive and objective public education and information program to inform the public about grizzly bears and their management under the ESA.



- The USFWS would continue to evaluate reported sightings of grizzly bears in the BE to determine their presence. The USFWS would also coordinate a monitoring program within the recovery zone to determine the status of recolonization.

- The national forests within the recovery zone would continue to manage habitat to meet or exceed their existing Forest Plan standards for big game habitat management. ESA Section 7 would apply upon implementation of this alternative and all federal actions within the recovery zone would be subject to Section 7 consultation with the USFWS.

- The USFWS would coordinate research to further study adequacy of land-use restrictions to protect suitable grizzly bear habitat within the Bitterroot recovery zone and within potential linkage zones to other occupied recovery zones. The USFWS would also evaluate adjacent wilderness areas for their suitability as additions to the recovery zone (to include the portion of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness south of the Salmon River).

- The USFWS, in cooperation with IDFG and MDFWP would apply the IGBC nuisance grizzly bear management guidelines (IGBC 1986) to grizzly bears in conflict with humans or domestic animals.

- Land-use restrictions could be implemented when necessary if illegal killing threatens grizzly bear recovery.

Expected actions and effects of Alternative 2.-- See Tables S-2 and S-3 for a comparison of the expected actions and effects of this alternative. The tentative recovery goal of this alternative is approximately 280 grizzly bears (USFWS 1996). Optimistically, it could take at least 50 years for reproducing populations of bears from the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem (80 miles distance) to reach the BE. If this occurred, it would conservatively take an additional 50-110+ years to population recovery. Thus, estimated time to recover grizzly bears in the BE under this alternative is at least 100-160 years. Since this alternative relies on natural recolonization to recover grizzly bears in the BE, there would be no cost associated with reintroduction of bears. Costs for ongoing monitoring and management activities would be approximately $140,000 per year. There could be additional costs associated with proposed research projects.

A brief summary of effects: If population recovery occurred, a recovered grizzly bear population would kill about 2 cattle (1-3) and 3 sheep (0-6) and up to 504 ungulates per year. This would not measurably impact ungulate populations or hunter harvest. Nuisance bear incidents could be up to 59 (0-118) per year. Ongoing land-use activities (including timber harvest, minerals extraction, and public access and recreation) could be altered solely for grizzly bears if proposed research determines that current habitat management is not adequate to maintain suitable grizzly bear habitat, or that linkage zone restrictions are necessary to promote grizzly bear recolonization. It is estimated that reductions in timber harvest on affected currently roaded national forest lands would be between 6.6 and 39.7 million board feet per year over the next decade. Mineral extraction could be altered due to grizzly bear concerns in and by themselves. Changes to hunting seasons could occur due to conflicts. Risk to human health and safety from a recovered grizzly bear population would be less than 1 injury per year and less than 1 human mortality every few decades. Economic analyses indicate that there is no net economic benefit from this alternative because it is essentially a continuation of the status quo for the foreseeable future. Total costs would be $140,000 for implementation, and the potential net loss of 44-264 jobs from reduced timber harvest.

Alternative 3. The No Grizzly Bear Alternative:

Summary.-- The purpose of this alternative is to prevent grizzly bears from naturally re-establishing in Bitterroot Ecosystem. Changes to the ESA proposed under this alternative would require intensive lobbying, changes in public attitudes, and years to implement. Actions of this magnitude would cost millions of dollars. Congress would need to pass legislation to remove grizzly bears in central Idaho and portions of western Montana from the list of threatened species. The USFWS would stop all funding and management activity toward bear research, education, and management in central Idaho. Furthermore, the states of Idaho and Montana would remove grizzly bears from the protection of state law within the BE (central Idaho and west-central Montana). Unregulated killing by the public and extirpation or removal by agencies would likely prevent any possible grizzly bear recovery in this area.

Implementation of Alternative 3 would involve:

- Federal legislation would be passed to remove grizzly bears from the list of threatened species in the BE.

- State legislation would be passed to remove grizzly bears from protection of Idaho and Montana state law in the BE.

- Agencies and the public would be allowed to kill grizzly bears at any time without restriction. This would prevent any natural recovery of bears.

Expected actions and effects of Alternative 3.-- See Tables S-2 and S-3 for a comparison of the expected actions and effects of this alternative. The only estimated costs of this alternative are management costs necessary to develop required legislation to change existing laws and regulations. Total cost is estimated at a minimum of $2,000,000 spread over several years. No measurable benefits have been associated with this alternative. There would be no other measurable impacts from this alternative.

Alternative 4. Reintroduction of a Threatened Population with Full Protection of the ESA:

Summary.-- The purpose of this alternative is to use reintroduction and extensive habitat protection and enhancement to promote natural recovery of grizzly bears in the BE. Primary grizzly bear management responsibility would reside with the USFWS and include active participation by the states and the Nez Perce Tribe. A ten member Scientific Committee would be appointed by the Secretary of the Interior in cooperation with the National Academy of Sciences to define needs for additional research, develop strategies for reintroduction of bears, and monitor results of the program. Grizzly bears would be reintroduced into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and roadless areas north of the Lochsa River through methods determined by the Scientific Committee. They would be fully listed as threatened with all the protections under the ESA (including Section 7(a)(2)), and all federal actions within the recovery zone would be subject to ESA Section 7 consultation with the USFWS. Management Situation designation would reflect a high priority for recovery on all federal lands within a 21,645 square mile recovery zone.

Grizzly bear populations would take a minimum of 65 years, and likely more than 125 years to recover to a population of 300-500 individuals (bears distributed over 21,645 mi2 of wilderness, non-wilderness, and private land). No logging or road building would be permitted on roadless lands within the recovery zone. The Magruder Road would be reclaimed and converted to a pack trail from Magruder crossing 23 miles west to Sabe Saddle. The Hells Half Acre Mountain Road would be reclaimed over the entire eight mile length. The Lolo Restoration Area (219 square miles) and a Corridor Special Management Area (1,380 square miles) would be designated for road density reduction through reclamation. Road densities on roaded lands within the Restoration Area and the Corridor Special Management Area would be reduced to an average of no more than 0.25 miles per square mile.

Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee nuisance grizzly bear management guidelines (IGBC 1986) would be applied to bears killing livestock. The Scientific Committee would review and modify these guidelines if necessary. If losses occurred on nearby private lands, bears would be moved. Agency response to reported livestock losses from grizzly bears must occur rapidly. Grizzly bears could be killed in defense of life, but not in defense of property. Use of toxicants lethal to bears on public lands within the recovery zone and areas used by bears would be subject to Section 7 consultation and could be prohibited by existing ADC policy and EPA labeling instructions. Backcountry users would be required to make food, garbage, and livestock feed unavailable to grizzly bears. Front country campgrounds would install bear resistant garbage containers as soon as possible. An intensive education campaign regarding food storage and garbage handling would be instituted for all residents and visitors. A request for elimination of hunting of black bears with dogs and bait within the wilderness areas designated for reintroduction of grizzly bears would be made to the State of Idaho. The Scientific Committee would recommend whether this ban would need to be extended if conditions warrant. Intensive hunter education efforts regarding bear identification and recreation in grizzly bear habitat would be undertaken.

Implementation of Alternative 4 would involve:

- The USFWS would designate the Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone along boundaries described in Figure S-4. The Recovery Zone would include all of the Selway-Bitterroot, Frank Church-River of No Return, Sawtooth, and Gospel Hump Wilderness Areas, surrounding inventoried roadless lands, and other National Forest lands comprising approximately 21,645 square miles. The area is located on portions of the Clearwater, Bitterroot, Lolo, Panhandle, Payette, Boise, Sawtooth,




Challis, and Salmon National Forests. Specifically, the northern boundary of the recovery zone would be the northern boundary of the Mallard-Larkins inventoried roadless area on the Clearwater and Panhandle National Forests and the northern boundary of the Sheep Mountain inventoried roadless area on the Lolo National Forest. The western boundary of the recovery zone would be the western boundary of the Clearwater National Forest; the westernmost boundaries of the Nez Perce and Payette National Forests west of U.S. Highway 95 and Idaho Highway 55; the westernmost boundaries of the Boise National Forest east of Idaho Highway 55. The southern boundary of the recovery zone would be the southern boundaries of the Boise, Sawtooth, and Challis National Forests north of U.S. Highway 20. The eastern boundary of the recovery zone would be the eastern boundaries of the Challis and Salmon National Forests west of U.S. Highway 93; the Bitterroot National Forest west of Lost Trail Pass northwest to Trapper Peak; the eastern boundary of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area to Lolo Peak and to include Lost Horse and Blodgett Canyons out to the mouth; the Lolo National Forest from Lolo Peak northwest to Garden Point; from Garden Point northwest to Rivulet Peak; from Rivulet Peak northwest to Sunrise Point; from Sunrise Point northwest to Blacktail Mountain.

- The USFWS would establish proactive interagency grizzly bear recovery programs in the BE (similar to those existing in other ecosystems) to conduct monitoring, research, education, and information programs.

- A Scientific Committee would be established to define needs for additional research, develop strategies for reintroduction of bears, and monitor results of the program.

- A recovery goal of between 300-500 (average of 400) grizzly bears (bears distributed over 21,645 mi2 of wilderness, non-wilderness and private land) would be established within the recovery zone. The Scientific Committee would recommend a refined recovery goal once grizzly bears are reintroduced and information is obtained on their use of the habitat.

- The USFWS would reintroduce a minimum of 25 bears over a period of 5 years into the Selway- Bitterroot Wilderness and roadless areas north of the Lochsa River following recommendations of the Scientific Committee. Subadult grizzly bears of both sexes would be trapped, each year for 5 years, from areas in Canada (in cooperation with Canadian authorities) and the United States that presently have healthy populations of grizzly bears living in habitats that are similar to those found in the Bitterroot Ecosystem. Three sources of grizzly bears for the BE have been identified: southeast British Columbia, the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) population in northwest Montana, and the Yellowstone Ecosystem (YE) population. The specific number of bears that could be obtained yearly from the potential source populations is unknown at this time. Bears would be reintroduced at the best time of year to optimize their survival. Reintroduced bears would be radio collared and monitored to determine their movements and how they use their habitat, and to keep the public informed of general bear locations and recovery efforts.

- Some undetermined level of mortality is expected among the transplanted bears. Every effort would be taken to minimize this, but mortalities are expected to occur. Any transplanted bears that died or were removed as a result of human action could be replaced. Such replacements would be in addition to the original minimum of 25 bears.

- Within the recovery zone (Figure S-4), the USFS and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in cooperation with USFWS would: not approve logging or road building within roadless areas; use road closures and road reclamation to reduce road densities to no more than 0.25 miles per square mile within the recovery zone, habitat restoration areas and habitat linkage corridors; designate management situations as per the Interagency Grizzly Bear Guidelines (IGBC 1986); and implement sanitation programs to assist recovery of grizzly bears.

- USFWS, in cooperation with other federal agencies, the states, the Nez Perce Tribe, and private groups would use federal funding to enhance grizzly bear habitat through acquisitions or easements.

- USFWS, in cooperation with IDFG and MDFWP would apply the IGBC nuisance grizzly bear management guidelines (IGBC 1986) to grizzly bears in conflict with humans or domestic animals.

- IDFG in cooperation with the USFWS could be requested to eliminate the use of dogs and bait for black bear hunting within the area designated for release of reintroduced bears.

Expected actions and effects of Alternative 4.-- See Tables S-2 and S-3 for a comparison of expected actions and effects of this alternative. The tentative recovery goal of this alternative is approximately 400 (300-500) grizzly bears. Under this alternative, grizzly bear recovery in the BE could take a minimum of 65-70 years (4% growth rate), and given potential conflicts, would likely take more than 125 years (2% growth rate). Total annual implementation cost during the 5-year reintroduction period would be approximately $393,632/year, and total 5-year implementation cost would be approximately $1,968,160. Annual costs for monitoring and citizen management would be approximately $168,000 for each year beyond the 5-year reintroduction period.

A brief summary of effects: A recovered grizzly bear population would kill about 17 cattle (12-22) and 178 sheep (0-355) and up to 720 ungulates per year. This would not measurably impact ungulate populations or hunter harvest. Nuisance bear incidents could be up to 84 (0-168) per year. Because grizzly bears would be listed as a fully protected threatened species, all federal actions within the recovery zone would be subject to ESA Section 7 consultation with the USFWS. Road building and timber harvest would not be allowed on federal lands within the recovery zone that are presently roadless. Grizzly bear habitat management would also likely restrict to some degree timber harvests on currently roaded areas within the recovery zone It is estimated that reductions in timber harvest on national forest lands would be between 43 and 194 million board feet per year over the next decade. Minerals extraction activities could be altered due to grizzly bear concerns in and by themselves. Public access could be negatively impacted due to proposed road closures, however, backcountry recreation opportunities could be enhanced by the road closures. Changes to black bear hunting seasons (elimination of baiting and hound hunting) could occur. Risk to human health and safety from a recovered grizzly bear population would be less than 1 injury per year and less than 1 human mortality every few decades. Economic analyses indicate grizzly bear recovery in the BE would lead to total net economic benefits of 40.4-60.6 million dollars per year. Annual cost associated with grizzly bear recovery would be: $288,700 for the value of hunting losses; $6,780-$45,090 for the value of livestock losses; and $168,000 annual cost for monitoring and management after the reintroduction phase ($393,632 annual implementation cost for the first 5-year reintroduction phase). Thus, the total cost would be $463,480-$501,790 per year (costs during the initial 5-year reintroduction phase would be $689,112-$727,422 per year). In addition, there would potentially be a net job loss of 138-1,136 jobs from reductions in timber harvest due to implementation of this alternative.

Literature Cited

Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. 1986. Interagency grizzly bear guidelines. U.S. For. Serv., Washington, D.C. 100 pp.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1993. Grizzly bear recovery plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Missoula, Montana. 181 pp.

__________. 1995. Summary of public comments on the scoping of issues and alternatives for grizzly

bear recovery in the Bitterroot Ecosystem. U. S. Fish and Wildl. Serv., Missoula, Mont.

__________. 1996. Bitterroot Ecosystem recovery plan chapter - supplement to the grizzly bear recovery plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Missoula, Montana. 27 pp.

__________. 1997. Grizzly bear recovery in the Bitterroot Ecosystem, Draft Environmental Impact Statement. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Missoula, Montana. 464 pp.

Table S-2. Alternatives and expected actions associated with them.


Expected

Actions


What is the risk to human safety?

Land-uses altered solely for grizzly bears?

Cost estimate for implementation?


How are linkage zones addressed?

Are habitat quality/size sufficient for recovery?

How would grizzly bears and their habitat be managed?

Where would grizzly bears be obtained and recovered?

Legislation needed to implement?

Alternatives









Alternative 1 -

Reintroduction of a Nonessential

Experimental Population (Proposed Action)


Minimal before recovery. At recovered grizzly popn. levels, less than 1 injury per year and less than 1 human mortality every few decades.

None expected. To be determined by the Citizen Management Committee (CMC), if need for land-use restrictions arises.

Reintroduction phase (first 5 years) = $1,968,160.

Annual monitoring and management thereafter = $168,000 per year.


No linkage zones designated.

Yes

IDFG/MDFWP in consultation with USFWS and the Nez Perce Tribe would manage and implement rules, policies, plans of CMC. Current land management agencies would continue to manage habitat.

Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Recovery Area (Figure S-2) = 5,785 square miles. Bears likely moved from existing popns. in U.S. and Canada and released into Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.

Publish special rule in Federal Register to establish nonessential experimental population.

Alternative 2 -

The No Action Alternative - Natural Recovery


No risk unless bears move from other ecosystems to occupy the BE. Minimal risk until recovery, then same as Alt. 1.

Few expected. To be determined by USFWS, if illegal killing, research, or ESA Section 7 consultation warrants.

Annual cost of monitoring and management for natural recovery = $140,000 per year.

No linkage zones designated.

Yes

Federal (USFWS) would have authority for grizzly bear recovery. Current land management agencies would continue to manage habitat.

Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone (Figure S-3) = 5,500 square miles. No bears would be moved or released.

None

Alternative 3 -

No Grizzly Bear


Nonexistent.

None for grizzly bears.

Minimum total cost to develop legislation = $2,000,000.

No linkage zones designated.

N/A

No agency management for recovery of grizzly bears.

Nowhere

Modify state (MT & ID) and federal laws. Change ESA.

Alternative 4 - Reintroduction of a Threatened Population with Full Protection of the ESA

Minimal before recovery. At recovered grizzly bear population levels, less than 1 injury per year and less than 1 human mortality every few decades.

No timber harvest or road constructn. in roadless areas of recovery zone. Road densities reduced to <0.25 mi/sq.mi. in recov. zone. Other restrictions per Science Committee recommendation, and ESA Section 7 consultation.

Reintroduction phase (first 5 years) = $1,968,160.

Annual monitoring and management thereafter = $168,000 per year.


Linkage zone designated between Bitterroot Ecosystem and Cabinet-

Yaak Ecosystem.


Yes

Federal (USFWS) with active participation by IDFG, MDFWP and the Nez Perce Tribe, and in consultation with Scientific Committee. Current land management agencies would continue to manage habitat.

Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone (Figure S-4) = 21,645 square miles. Bears likely moved from existing populations in U.S. and Canada and released into Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness or roadless areas north of Lochsa River.

None




Table S-3. Expected impacts of a recovered grizzly bear population by alternative.


Alternatives

Reintroduction of a Nonessential Experimental Population (Proposed Action)


The No Action -

Natural Recovery


No Grizzly

Bear


Reintroduction of a Threatened Population With ESA Protection

Impact

Impact on human health and safety

Minimal risk of injury before recovery (50-110+ years). At recovery (280 bears), less than 1 injury per year, and less than 1 mortality every few decades.

If bears recolonize, risk minimal until recovery (150+ years), then same as Alternative 1.

No impact.

Same as Alternative 1, except time to recovery is minimum 65-70 years, and likely more than 125 years.

Impact on source grizzly bear populations

Removal of bears from source populations would adhere to all management guides to protect source popn. health. Thus no impact to source popn. health.

Bears would not be relocated under Alternative 2. No impact.

Bears would not be relocated under Alternative 3. No impact.

Same as Alternative 1. Thus no impact to source population health.

Impact on land-use activities to include: timber harvest, domestic livestock, and minerals extraction

No expected impacts to timber harvest or mining. At recovered population level (280 bears), 4-7 cattle and 0-44 sheep lost per year. Nuisance incidents = 0-118 per year.

Sectn. 7 consultation could reduce timber harvest and mining. At population of 280 bears, 1-3 cattle & 0-6 sheep lost per year. Nuisance incidents = 0-118 per year.

No impact.

ESA Section 7 consultation required. No road building or timber harvest on USFS roadless areas. Timber harvest & mining reduced. At 400 bears, 12-22 cattle & 0-355 sheep lost per year. Nuisances = 0-168 per year.

Impact on wildlife populations

Minimal impacts to wildlife. At recovered population levels, 280 bears would kill approximately 504 ungulates per year.

If recolonization occurs, minimal impact until recovery, then same as Alternative 1.

No impact.

Minimal impacts to wildlife. At recovered population levels, 400 bears would kill approximately 720 ungulates per year.

Impact on public access and recreational use

No road/trail closures expected. Changes to hunting seasons could occur due to possible conflicts.

Possible road/trail closures due to Section 7. Hunting season changes could occur also.

No impact.

Closure and reclamation of 3500 miles of roads. Other closures likely due to Sectn. 7. Hunting season changes, especially black bear.

Social impacts

Hardship due to nuisance incidents and sanitation reqs. Mixed impact due to knowledge of grizzly presence. Positive impact to Native American culture by recovering grizzlies.

If recolonization occurs, then same as Alternative 1. Also negative impact of jobs lost to local communities.

No impact to local communities. Negative impact to Native Americans.

Same as Alternative 1. Additional negative impact of lost jobs to local communities.

Economic impacts



Livestock loss: $2,260-$8,003/yr. Grizzly existence value: $40.5-$60.6 million/yr. Reintroduction cost: $393,632/year for first 5 years. Management cost: $168,000/year after first 5 years.

Possible loss of 44-264 timber jobs. No existence value. Management cost until recovery = $140,000 per year.

Total cost of $2 million over several years to change federal and state laws.

Hunting loss: $288,700/yr. Livestock loss: $6,780-$45,090/year. Jobs lost: 138-1,136. Existence value: $40.5-$60.6 million/year. Reintrod. cost: $393,632/yr. for first 5 years. Managemt. cost: $168,000/year after first 5 years.


How You Can Become Involved:

Written Comments on the Draft EIS

In order to be considered in development of the final plan, comments on the draft EIS must be received by September 30, 1997. For your convenience, a Response Form is provided with this summary. Mail your comments to: Bitterroot Grizzly Bear EIS, P.O. Box 5127, Missoula, Montana 59806.

Public Hearings

Six public hearings have been scheduled for officials to gather testimony regarding the draft EIS for Grizzly Bear Recovery in the Bitterroot Ecosystem. The public will have the opportunity to provide oral and/or written testimony at these hearings. The schedule follows:

Wednesday August 27, 1997 Salmon, Idaho

Wednesday August 27, 1997 Hamilton, Montana

Thursday August 28, 1997 Lewiston, Idaho

Thursday August 28, 1997 Missoula, Montana

Friday August 29, 1997 Boise, Idaho

Friday August 29, 1997 Helena, Montana

Draft EIS Response Form

Mail comments to: Bitterroot Grizzly Bear EIS, P.O. Box 5127, Missoula, Montana 59806.

Comments will be accepted from July 1, 1997, through September 30, 1997.


Alternative 1. Reintroduction of a Nonessential Experimental Population.





















Alternative 2. The No Action Alternative - Natural Recovery.


















Alternative 3. The No Grizzly Bear Alternative.