U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Reopens Comment Period on Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Population Delisting Proposal
For Immediate Release
September 6, 2016
LAKEWOOD, Colo. – As part of our commitment to public participation, transparency, and the best-available science, today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces we are reopening the comment period on the proposed rule to delist the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) grizzly bear population (Yellowstone grizzly bear population), which initially published March 11, 2016.
This decision comes after July’s release of the findings of an extensive scientific peer review of the delisting proposal. The five independent peer reviewers were selected by an outside, third-party contractor based on their technical grizzly bear expertise.
The extended comment period also allows the public to comment on the protective measures passed by Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming for post-delisting management of grizzly bears. The peer reviews and the documents illustrating Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming’s post-delisting management approach to the Yellowstone grizzly bear population are available online http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/es/grizzlybear.php.
The Yellowstone grizzly bear population has rebounded from as few as 136 bears in 1975 to an estimated 700 or more today. Grizzly bears have more than doubled their range since the mid-1970s and now occupy more than 22,500 square miles of the ecosystem. Stable population numbers for grizzly bears for more than a decade also indicate that the GYE is at or near its carrying capacity for the bears.
Today’s announcement opens a 30-day comment period, which ends on October 7, 2016. All comments are read, considered, and are included in the official record. The Endangered Species Act requires any final federal agency decision to be made “solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.” Materials provided by the public are considered in this context, and help ensure the Service’s action is based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analysis. We ask that the public not resubmit remarks made during the initial delisting rule comment period, as those original comments are already being considered in the determination process.
Comments may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter the Docket Number for the proposed rule, which is FWS–R6–ES–2016–0042. Then click on the search button. On the resulting page, you may enter a comment by clicking on the “Comment Now!” button.
Comments will also be accepted via U.S. mail or hand-delivery to the following address:
Public Comments Processing
Attn: Docket No. FWS–R6–ES–2016–0042
U.S. Fish and Wildlife, MS: BPHC
5275 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
The Service will post all information received on http://www.regulations.gov. Please note that this generally means that we will post any personal information that is provided.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.
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– FWS –