TABLE OF CONTENTS

 
Abstract ................................................................. iii
Summary .................................................................. v
Introduction ............................................................. xli

CHAPTER I.  PURPOSE OF AND NEED FOR ACTION ......................... ......1-1
Introduction  ............................................................ 1-3
Purpose of the Action  ................................................... 1-3
Need for the Action ...................................................... 1-4
Background ............................................................... 1-5
Project Location and Description ......................................... 1-8
Legal Context ............................................................ 1-9
    Endangered Species Act  .............................................. 1-9
    USFWS Policy  ........................................................ 1-9
    USDA Forest Service Creative Act of 1891 ............................. 1-9
    USDA Forest Service Policy ........................................... 1-10  
    Animal Damage Control Act of 1931 .................................... 1-10
    Wilderness Act of 1964 ............................................... 1-10
    National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) ..................... 1-10
    Treaty with the Nez Perce, 1855 ...................................... 1-11
    Indian Self Determination Act ........................................ 1-11
    Montana State Law .................................................... 1-11
    Idaho State Law ...................................................... 1-11
    International Treaties   ............................................. 1-11 
Planning and EIS Process ................................................. 1-12
     Scope of this Document .............................................. 1-12
     Scoping Process and Public Participation ............................ 1-12
Scoping of Issues ........................................................ 1-13
    Introduction ......................................................... 1-13
    Issues and Impacts Evaluated in the DEIS ............................. 1-13
        Issues Addressed as Part of Alternatives ......................... 1-13
        Issues/Impacts Analyzed in the DEIS .............................. 1-20
        Significant Issues/Impacts and Concerns .......................... 1-22
    Issues and Impacts not Evaluated in the DEIS ......................... 1-23
Alternative Scoping ...................................................... 1-25
    Resource Inventory and Analysis ...................................... 1-25
    Development and Evaluation of Alternatives ........................... 1-25 
    Alternatives Identified During Scoping, but not Evaluated Further .... 1-25
    Alternatives Addressed in the DEIS ...................................
CHAPTER II.  ALTERNATIVES INCLUDING THE PROPOSED ACTION  ................. 2-1
Introduction ............................................................. 2-3
Alternatives Considered in Detail in the Environmental Analysis .......... 2-3
    Introduction ......................................................... 2-3
Alternative 1.  Reintroduction of a Nonessential Experimental Population
    Alternative (the Proposal) ........................................... 2-4
    Background ........................................................... 2-4
         Reintroduction of a Nonessential Experimental Population
         Alternative (the Proposal)....................................... 2-4
    Summary .............................................................. 2-4
        Implementing this alternative would involve ...................... 2-7
        How would the grizzly bear population respond to this
        alternative?  .................................................... 2-10
        How does this alternative address the major issues and concerns of 
        the public? ...................................................... 2-12
            1. What will be the risk to human safety? .................... 2-12
            2. What kind of land uses will be altered solely for grizzly
               bears? .................................................... 2-13
            3. How much will implementation cost? ........................ 2-15
            4. How does this alternative address linkage zones? .......... 2-15
            5. Are habitat quality and size of the recovery area sufficient
               for recovery? ..............................................2-15 
            6. How will grizzly bears and their habitat be managed? .......2-16
            7. Where will grizzly bears be obtained, reintroduced,
                and recovered? ............................................2-17

    Alternative 2.  The No Action Alternative - Natural Recovery   ........2-18
        Background ........................................................2-18
            The No Action Alternative - Natural Recovery  ................ 2-18
        Summary ...........................................................2-18
           Implementing this alternative would involve ................... 2-19
           How would the grizzly bear population respond to this
              alternative? ................................................2-21
           How does this alternative address the major issues and concerns of 
           the public? ....................................................2-22
                   1. What will be the risk to human safety? ..............2-22
                   2. What kind of land uses will be altered solely for
                      grizzly bears? ......................................2-23
                   3. How much will implementation cost? ..................2-24
                   4. How does this alternative address linkage zones? ....2-24
                   5. Are habitat quality and size of the recovery area
                      sufficient for recovery? ............................2-25 
                   6. How will grizzly bears and their habitat be managed? 2-25
                   7. Where will grizzly bears be obtained, reintroduced,
                       and recovered? .....................................2-26


Alternative 3.  The No Grizzly Bear Alternative ...........................2-27
    Background ............................................................2-27
        The No Grizzly Bear Alternative  ..................................2-27
    Summary ...............................................................2-27
        Implementing this alternative would involve .......................2-28
        How would the grizzly bear population respond to this alternative? 2-28
        How does this alternative address the major issues and concerns of 
         the public? ......................................................2-28
            1. What will be the risk to human safety? .....................2-28
            2. What kind of land uses will be altered solely for grizzly
               bears? .....................................................2-28
            3. How much will implementation cost? ........................ 2-28
            4. How does this alternative address linkage zones? .......... 2-28
            5. Are habitat quality and size of the recovery area sufficient
               for recovery? ..............................................2-29 
            6. How will grizzly bears and their habitat be managed? .......2-29
            7. Where will grizzly bears be obtained, reintroduced,
               and recovered? .............................................2-29

Alternative 4.  Reintroduction of a Threatened Population With Full Protection
       of the ESA Alternative   .......................................... 2-30
    Background ........................................................... 2-30
        Reintroduction of a Threatened Population With Full Protection     
        of the ESA Alternative  .......................................... 2-30
    Summary .............................................................. 2-30
       Implementing this alternative would involve ....................... 2-32
       How would the grizzly bear population respond to this alternative?  2-34
       How does this alternative address the major issues and concerns of 
       the public? ....................................................... 2-36
           1. What will be the risk to human safety? ..................... 2-36
           2. What kind of land uses will be altered solely for grizzly
              bears?...................................................... 2-36
           3. How much will implementation cost? ......................... 2-38
           4. How does this alternative address linkage zones? ........... 2-38
           5. Are habitat quality and size of the recovery area sufficient
              for recovery? .............................................. 2-39 
           6. How will grizzly bears and their habitat be managed? ....... 2-39
           7. Where will grizzly bears be obtained, reintroduced,
              and recovered? ............................................. 2-40
A Summary and Comparison of the Impacts of These Alternatives and
     Identification of the Fish and Wildlife Service Preferred Alternative 2-41

CHAPTER III.  AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT ....................................... 3-1
    Bitterroot Ecosystem of Central Idaho and Western Montana: The Region  3-3
        Landscape ........................................................ 3-10
       Climate ........................................................... 3-10
       Vegetation ....................................................... .3-11
       Wildlife .......................................................... 3-11
           Grizzly Bear Population Status ................................ 3-14
               Historical Status ......................................... 3-14
               Current Status ............................................ 3-15
           Grizzly Bear Habitat Suitability .............................. 3-15
                Habitat Studies .......................................... 3-16
                Vegetation Types and Food ................................ 3-16
                Technical Review and Habitat Management .................. 3-18
            Grizzly Bear Source Populations .............................. 3-19
                The NCDE and YE Source Populations ....................... 3-19
                 Southeast British Columbia .............................. 3-21
    Bitterroot Ecosystem of Central Idaho and Western Montana: Land Uses . 3-23
        Timber Harvest ................................................... 3-24
        Livestock Grazing ................................................ 3-28
        Recreation Use ................................................... 3-31
        Minerals Extraction .............................................. 3-36
    Bitterroot Ecosystem of Central Idaho and Western Montana:
        Socio-Economics and Cultural Perspective .... .................... 3-37
        Population ....................................................... 3-37
        Economy .......................................................... 3-38
        Native American Cultural Perspective on Grizzly Bears ............ 3-40
                                                                            
CHAPTER IV.  ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES .................................. 4-1
   Introduction .......................................................... 4-3
   Environmental Consequences of Alternative 1.  Reintroduction of a
     Nonessential Experimental Population ................................ 4-4
       Impacts on Human Health and Safety ................................ 4-4
       Impacts on Source Populations of Grizzly Bears .................... 4-6
       Impacts on Land-Use Activities .................................... 4-8
           Impacts on Timber Harvest ..................................... 4-8
           Impacts on Minerals Extraction ................................ 4-8
           Impacts on Domestic Livestock ................................. 4-8
           Impacts on Other Private Property ............................. 4-11
       Impacts on Wildlife Populations ................................... 4-12
       Impacts on Public Access and Recreational Use ..................... 4-14
          Visitor Use .................................................... 4-14
          Trail and Road Closures ........................................ 4-15
          Hunting Seasons ................................................ 4-16
       Impacts on Economics and the Social Environment ................... 4-16
          Background Information for Analysis ............................ 4-16
          Impact on the Economic Value Associated with Hunter Harvest..... 4-16
          Economic Impact on Domestic Livestock .......................... 4-17
          Economic Effect of Land Use Restrictions on Recreation ......... 4-18
          Economic Effect of Land Use Restrictions on Timber Harvest ..... 4-18
          Economic Effect of Land Use Restrictions on Mineral Extraction . 4-18
          Economic Effect of Changes in Visitor Use ...................... 4-18
          Economic Effect on the Value Potential Visitors Place on            
          Grizzly Bears .................................................. 4-19
          Social Impacts ................................................. 4-23
       Adverse Effects ................................................... 4-24
       Short-Term and Long-Term Effects .................................. 4-25
       Irreversible and Irretrievable Commitments of Resources ........... 4-27
       Cumulative Effects Analysis ....................................... 4-27
       Human Health and Safety ........................................... 4-27
       Source Populations of Grizzly Bears ............................... 4-28
       Land-Use Activities ............................................... 4-29
       Wildlife Populations .............................................. 4-29
       Public Access and Recreational Use ................................ 4-31
       Economics and the Social Environment .............................. 4-32
   Environmental Consequences of Alternative 2.  The No Action Alternative -   
       Natural Recovery ...................................................4-33
       Impacts on Human Health and Safety .................................4-33
       Impacts on Source Populations of Grizzly Bears .................... 4-34
       Impacts on Land-Use Activities .................................... 4-34
          Impacts on Timber Harvest ...................................... 4-34
          Impacts on Minerals Extraction ................................. 4-34
          Impacts on Domestic Livestock .................................. 4-34
          Impacts on Other Private Property .............................. 4-36
      Impacts on Wildlife Populations .................................... 4-37
      Impacts on Public Access and Recreational Use ...................... 4-38
          Visitor Use .................................................... 4-38
          Trail and Road Closures ........................................ 4-38
          Hunting Seasons ................................................ 4-38
      Impacts on Economics and the Social Environment .................... 4-39
          Impact on the Economic Value Associated with Hunter Harvest  ... 4-39
          Economic Impact on Domestic Livestock........................... 4-39
          Economic Effect of Land Use Restrictions on Recreation ......... 4-39
          Economic Effect of Land Use Restrictions on Timber Harvest ..... 4-39
          Economic Effect of Land Use Restrictions on Mineral Extraction . 4-40
          Economic Effect of Changes in Visitor Use ...................... 4-40
          Economic Effect on the Value Potential Visitors Place on             
                   Grizzly Bears ......................................... 4-40
          Social Impacts ................................................. 4-40
    Environmental Consequences of Alternative 3.  The No Grizzly Bear           
                                              Alternative................. 4-42
      Impacts on Human Health and Safety ................................. 4-42
      Impacts on Source Populations of Grizzly Bears ..................... 4-42
      Impacts on Land-Use Activities ..................................... 4-42
      Impacts on Wildlife Populations .................................... 4-42
      Impacts on Public Access and Recreational Use ...................... 4-42
      Impacts on Economics and the Social Environment .................... 4-43
         Impact on the Economic Value Associated with Hunter Harvest  .... 4-43
         Economic Impact on Domestic Livestock.............................4-43
         Economic Effect of Land Use Restrictions on Recreation .......... 4-43
         Economic Effect of Land Use Restrictions on Timber Harvest ...... 4-43
         Economic Effect of Land Use Restrictions on Mineral Extraction .. 4-43
         Economic Effect of Changes in Visitor Use ....................... 4-43
         Economic Effect on the Value Potential Visitors Place on            
                    Grizzly Bears ........................................ 4-43
        Social Impacts ................................................... 4-43
    Environmental Consequences of Alternative 4.  The Reintroduction of a       
      Threatened Population with Full Protection of the ESA Alternative .. 4-44
      Impacts on Human Health and Safety ................................. 4-44
      Impacts on Source Populations of Grizzly Bears ..................... 4-44
      Impacts on Land-Use Activities ..................................... 4-45
         Impacts on Timber Harvest ....................................... 4-45
         Impacts on Minerals Extraction .................................. 4-46
         Impacts on Domestic Livestock ................................... 4-46
         Impacts on Other Private Property ............................... 4-47
      Impacts on Wildlife Populations .................................... 4-48
      Impacts on Public Access and Recreational Use ...................... 4-51
         Visitor Use ..................................................... 4-51
         Trail and Road Closures ......................................... 4-51
         Hunting Seasons ................................................. 4-52
      Impacts on Economics and the Social Environment .................... 4-53
         Impact on the Economic Value Associated with Hunter Harvest  .... 4-53
         Economic Impact on Domestic Livestock............................ 4-54
         Economic Effect of Land Use Restrictions on Recreation .......... 4-55
         Economic Effect of Land Use Restrictions on Timber Harvest          
                    and of Road Reclamation Work ......................... 4-55
         Economic Effect of Land Use Restrictions on Mining  ............. 4-58
         Economic Effect of Changes in Visitor Use ....................... 4-58
         Economic Effect on the Value Potential Visitors Place on            
                    Grizzly Bears ........................................ 4-58
         Social Impacts .................................................. 4-59
                                                                            
CHAPTER V.  CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION ................................ 5-1
    Consultation and Coordination ........................................ 5-3
        Consultation and Coordination in Development of the Proposal ..... 5-3
        Consultation and Coordination in Development of the DEIS ......... 5-8
            Summary of Public Involvement ................................ 5-8
                Introduction ............................................. 5-8
                Issue and Alternative Scoping ............................ 5-9
           List of Preparers ............................................. 5-10
        List of Organizations and Persons Sent the DEIS for Review ....... 5-19
           Federal Agencies .............................................. 5-19
           State Agencies ................................................ 5-19
           Native American Tribes Elected Officials ...................... 5-20
           Federal Elected Officials ..................................... 5-20
           Local Elected Officials ....................................... 5-21
           Businesses and Organizations .................................. 5-21


CHAPTER VI.  GLOSSARY, BIBLIOGRAPHY, AND APPENDICES ...................... 6-1
    Glossary of Terms .................................................... 6-3
    Bibliography ......................................................... 6-13
    Personal Communications Cited ........................................ 6-19
    Appendix 1.  Chronology of Grizzly Bear Recovery in the BE ........... 6-20
    Appendix 2.  Technical Summary: Grizzly Bear Biology and Ecology ..... 6-24
    Appendix 3.  Technical Summary: Evaluation of Habitat Quality for
                            Grizzly Bears in the BE ...................... 6-30
        Appendix 3A. Anadromous and resident fisheries status in the BE .. 6-36
        Appendix 3B. Whitebark pine in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness
                     Complex: Ecology, Distribution, and Health .......... 6-41
    Appendix 4.  Historical Evidence and Current Status of Grizzly
                 Bears in the BE ......................................... 6-46
    Appendix 5.  Public Attitudes About Grizzly Bears: a Review of
                 Recent Surveys .......................................... 6-53
    Appendix 6.  Scientific Techniques for the Reintroduction of
                 Grizzly Bears ........................................... 6-65
    Appendix 7.  Budget Estimates for DEIS Alternatives for
                 Reintroduction and Monitoring of Grizzly Bears
                 in the BE ............................................... 6-73
    Appendix 8.  Grizzly Bear Reintroduction to the BE and Executive
                 Order 12630 (Government Actions and Interference with
                 Constitutionally Protected Property Rights) ............. 6-76
    Appendix 9.  9A.  Draft Intra-Service Section 7 Evaluation of the
                 Reintroduction of Grizzly Bears to the BE ............... 6-78
                 9B.  Draft Section 7 Evaluation of Impacts to Anadromous
                       Fish Resources From the Reintroduction of Grizzly
                       Bears to the Bitterroot Ecosystem of Central Idaho
                       and Western Montana ..............................  6-89
    Appendix 10.  Memorandum Regarding Concept of Habitat Security for
                               Grizzly Bears ............................. 6-90
    Appendix 11.  Risk to Human Safety from Grizzly Bear Recovery in the BE 6-98
    Appendix 12.  Advantages of Nonessential Experimental Grizzly Bear
                              Reintroduction ............................. 6-104
    Appendix 13.  Endangered Species Act Proposed Rule 10(j), Establishment
                  of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Grizzly
                  Bears in the Bitterroot Area of Idaho and Montana ...... 6-108
    Appendix 14.  Bitterroot Ecosystem Recovery Plan Chapter - Supplement
                  to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan ...................... 6-136
    Appendix 15.  Plan for Determining Grizzly Bear Nuisance Status for
                  Controlling Nuisance Grizzly Bears ..................... 6-164
    Appendix 16.  Grizzly Bear Recovery in the BE - Scoping of Issues and 
                   Alternatives Brochure ................................  6-171
    Appendix 17.  Explanation of Existence Value Calculations from Chapter IV
                   Economic Analyses ....................................  6-177
    Appendix 18.  Expected Timelines to Commence Implementation of the Preferred 
                   lternative and Initial Implementation-Associated Sanitation 
                   Efforts to Minimize Conflicts ......................... 6-179
    Appendix 19.  Excerpts from the Report: ASummary of Public Comments on
                  the Scoping of Issues and Alternatives for Grizzly Bear
                  Recovery in the Bitterroot Ecosystem - September 1995".. 6-181

                                LIST OF TABLES

Table 2-1.  Alternatives and expected actions associated with them ........ 2-42
Table 2-2.  Expected impacts of a recovered grizzly bear population by
            alternative ................................................... 2-44
Table 3-1.  Land ownership estimates, in acres, by county in the
            Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Primary Analysis Area ................. 3-7
Table 3-2.  Number and density of people and farms in 14 counties
            covering the Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Primary Analysis Area
            in central Idaho and western Montana  ......................... 3-9
Table 3-3.  Estimated population parameters and harvest numbers of
            elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, bighorn sheep, mountain
            goats, moose, and black bear in and adjacent to the
            Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Primary Analysis Area ................. 3-13
Table 3-4.  Annual NCDE grizzly bear population and known, human-caused
            mortality data based on 1993 Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan criteria.
            Data from known, human-caused mortalities, minimum unduplicated
            counts of females with cubs, and distribution of females with
            young ......................................................... 3-20
Table 3-5.  Annual YE grizzly bear population and known, human-caused
            mortality data based on 1993 Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan
            criteria.  Data from known, human-caused mortalities, minimum
            unduplicated counts of females with cubs, and distribution of
            females with young ............................................ 3-20
Table 3-6.  Population size and status of grizzly bear populations in
            southeast British Columbia and adjacent areas of southwest
            Alberta ......................................................  3-21
Table 3-7.  Land-use activities in central Idaho and western Montana
            national forests. Information from current USFS 10-year
            Forest Plans  ................................................  3-25
Table 3-8.  Projected annual timber harvest (million board feet) in central
            Idaho and western Montana national forests over the next 5
            decades ......................................................  3-26
Table 3-9.  Projected annual timber harvest from current Forest Plans, and
            actual timber volume sold for USFS lands within the PAA in
            central Idaho and western Montana during 1992-1995 ............ 3-27 
Table 3-10. Miles of open and restricted system roads on national forest
            lands in the Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Primary Analysis Area .... 3-28
Table 3-11. Number of permitted cattle, sheep, and horses on active
            livestock allotments on national forest lands in the Bitterroot
            Grizzly Bear Primary Analysis Area  ........................... 3-30
Table 3-12. Number of cattle, sheep, hogs, and chickens in 14 central Idaho
            and western Montana counties in the Bitterroot Grizzly Bear
            Primary Analysis Area ..........................................3-31
Table 3-13. Number of days and number of participants in fishing, hunting,
            and nonresidential nonconsumptive activities in Idaho and
            Montana in 1991 ..............................................  3-33
Table 3-14. Miles of recreational trails on national forest lands in the
            Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Primary Analysis Area ................  3-34
Table 3-15. Recreation Visitor Days (RVDs) and number of developed
            recreation sites  on national forest lands in the Bitterroot
            Grizzly Bear Primary Analysis Area ............................ 3-35
Table 3-16. Number of big game tags provided by 102 outfitters and guides in 
            36 big game management units in the central Idaho portion of the 
            Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Primary Analysis Area ..................3-35
Table 3-17. Population trends in Idaho and Montana and the Bitterroot Grizzly 
            Bear Primary Analysis Area ...................................  3-38
Table 3-18. Per capita income trends for Idaho and Montana and the
            Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Primary Analysis Area from 1970-1993 .. 3-39
Table 3-19. Major economic sectors as a percentage of total personal income
            for Idaho and Montana and the Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Primary
            Analysis Area.................................................. 3-40
Table 3-20. A summary of the key characteristics of the Bitterroot Grizzly
            Bear Primary Analysis Area that were analyzed as potentially
            being affected by grizzly bear recovery  ...................... 3-43
Table 4-1.  Estimated livestock losses in the BE based on cattle numbers,
            grizzly bear numbers and rate of loss due to grizzly bears in
            the YE and NCDE.  The livestock losses for the BE are
            projections based on rate of loss in the other ecosystems and
            are based on a recovered grizzly bear population of 280
            individuals managed under experimental status described in
            Alternative 1 ................................................. 4-10
Table 4-2.  Estimated predation on ungulates by grizzly bears in the PAA as
            a percent of the pre-hunting season ungulate population and
            different grizzly population levels  ........................   4-13
Table 4-3.  Annual economic costs associated with livestock depredation
            under Alternative 1  .......................................... 4-17
Table 4-4.  Comparisons of anticipated visitation patterns with grizzly bear
            reintroduction in the BE, by population group  ...............  4-19
Table 4-5.  Estimated mean values of grizzly bear reintroduction in the BE
            to potential visitors and others under Alternative 1 .......... 4-22
Table 4-6.  Annual net benefits associated with grizzly bear recovery in
            the BE under Alternative 1 .................................... 4-23
Table 4-7.  Estimated livestock losses in the BE based on cattle numbers,
            grizzly bear numbers and rate of loss due to grizzly bears in
            the YE and NCDE.  The livestock losses for the BE are
            projections based on rate of loss in the other ecosystems and
            are based on a recovered grizzly bear population of 280
            individuals managed under experimental status described in
            Alternative 2 ................................................. 4-36
Table 4-8.  Estimated 1997-2006 annual timber harvest reductions on roaded
            USFS lands within the PAA for Alternative 2 ..................  4-40
Table 4-9.  Annual net social benefits associated with grizzly bear
            recovery in the BE under Alternative 2 .......................  4-41
Table 4-10. Estimated livestock losses in the BE based on cattle numbers,
            grizzly bear numbers and rate of loss due to grizzly bears in
            the YE and NCDE.  The livestock losses for the BE are
            projections based on rate of loss in the other ecosystems and
            are based on a recovered grizzly bear population of 400
            individuals managed under experimental status described in
            Alternative 4 ................................................. 4-48
Table 4-11. Estimated predation on ungulates by grizzly bears in the PAA
            as a percent of the pre-hunting season ungulate population
            and different grizzly population levels  .....................  4-50
Table 4-12. Average annual black bear harvest by hunting technique in areas
            affected by proposed elimination of baiting and dogs, 1989-94.  4-53
Table 4-13. Annual economic costs associated with livestock depredation under
            Alternative 4 ..................................................4-54
Table 4-14. Estimated 1997-2006 annual timber harvest reductions on roaded
            and unroaded USFS lands within the PAA for Alternative 4 .....  4-57
Table 4-15. Annual net social benefits associated with grizzly bear recovery
            in the BE under Alternative 4 ................................. 4-59

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1-1. Regional perspective showing the analysis area considered in
            the draft Environmental Impact Statement for recovery efforts
            of grizzly bears in the Bitterroot Ecosystem .................. 1-9
Figure 2-1. Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Population Area and Recovery Area for 
            Alternative 1 - the Reintroduction of a Nonessential
            Experimental Population Alternative ..........................  2-6
Figure 2-2. Projections of grizzly bear population growth for the
            Bitterroot Ecosystem. ......................................... 2-11
Figure 2-3. Grizzly bear ecosystems in the northern Rocky Mountains
            (Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan, USFWS 1993) .....................  2-19
Figure 2-4. The Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone for Alternative 2 -
            the No Action Alternative - Natural Recovery .................  2-20
Figure 2-5. Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone and habitat linkage
            corridor for Alternative 4 - the Reintroduction of a Threatened
            Population with Full Protection of the ESA ...................  2-31
Figure 2-6. Projections of grizzly bear population growth for the
            Bitterroot Ecosystem. ........................................  2-35
Figure 2-7. Comparison of the Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Recovery Area for
            Alternative 1 and Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Recovery Zones for
            Alternatives 2 and 4 .......................................... 2-43
Figure 3-1. Location of the Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Primary Analysis Area,
            Nez Perce Indian Reservation, and approximate boundaries of Nez
            Perce treaty lands in Idaho ................................... 3-4
Figure 3-2. Ten contiguous National Forests comprising the Bitterroot
            Grizzly Bear Primary Analysis Area ............................ 3-5
Figure 3-3. The three wilderness areas within the PAA: Selway-Bitterroot,
            Frank Church-River of No Return, and Gospel Hump Wilderness
            Areas ......................................................... 3-6
Figure 3-4. Fourteen counties in central Idaho and western Montana that
            are all or partly included in the Bitterroot Grizzly Bear
            Primary Analysis Area (the "fourteen-county area") ........... 3-8
Figure 3-5. Central Idaho and western Montana big game management units
            analyzed to estimate ungulate and black bear numbers and
            harvest in the Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Primary Analysis Area . 3-12
Figure 3-6. The Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Evaluation Area as described by
            Davis and Butterfield (1991) ................................  3-17
Figure 3-7. Administrative regions of the British Columbia Ministry of
            Environment, Lands, and Parks, including the Kootenay Region
            of southeast B.C.............................................  3-22
Figure 3-8. Active Idaho and Montana grazing allotments on federal lands
            in the Bitterroot Grizzly Bear Primary Analysis Area ........  3-29 

INTRODUCTION

Grizzly bears historically ranged throughout most of the western United States. Habitat loss and excessive human-caused mortality have reduced numbers of this species from estimates of 50,000 prior to European settlement, to 800-1,000 grizzly bears that currently exist on approximately 2 percent of their historic range in the lower 48 States. Grizzly bears were widespread inhabitants of the Bitterroot Mountains in central Idaho and western Montana. The last verified death of a grizzly bear in the Bitterroot Ecosystem (BE) occurred in 1932 and the last tracks were observed in 1946. No verified tracks or sightings have been documented in more than 50 years, and the best scientific evidence available indicates there are no grizzly bears in the BE at this time.

Grizzly bears were listed as a threatened species in the 48 contiguous States in 1975. At that time the Bitterroot Ecosystem was listed as one of three areas where grizzly bears were known or thought to exist and where recovery should be emphasized. In 1982 a grizzly bear recovery plan called for the evaluation of the BE as a potential recovery area. Ensuing studies indicated sufficient habitat existed in the BE to support 200-400 grizzly bears. In 1991, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee endorsed the BE as a recovery area and authorized the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to pursue grizzly bear recovery. 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 grizzly bear from threatened status in the conterminous 48 States. The BE Recovery Chapter calls for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate a range of alternatives to recover the grizzly bear in the BE.

This document describes 4 alternatives that represent different approaches to grizzly bear recovery and management in the Bitterroot Ecosystem of central Idaho and western Montana. Two alternatives (including the proposal) involve reintroducing grizzly bears from other areas in the United States and Canada to the BE. One alternative (No Action) simply encourages natural recovery of grizzly bears in the BE through range expansion from existing populations. And one alternative prevents grizzly bear recovery in the BE. These alternatives were developed in response to public comments and represent a range of alternatives for consideration. All issues and concerns identified by the public were considered and the most significant 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.