[Federal Register: March 9, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 47)]
[Page 12570]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of a Final Environmental Impact Statement for 
Grizzly Bear Recovery in the Bitterroot Ecosystem

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of a Final Environmental Impact 
Statement for Grizzly Bear Recovery in the Bitterroot Ecosystem.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the Final Environmental 
Impact Statement (FEIS) for Grizzly Bear Recovery in the Bitterroot 
Ecosystem is available for public review. The FEIS evaluates a proposal 
to establish an experimental population rule and reintroduce grizzly 
bears into the Bitterroot Ecosystem in east-central Idaho and western 
Montana. Six alternatives, including the No Action Alternative, are 
discussed in the FEIS.
    The Bitterroot Ecosystem consists of approximately 44,400 square 
miles in 10 central Idaho and four western Montana counties, of which 
76 percent is in Federal surface ownership. A Citizen Management 
Committee would be tasked with management implementation responsibility 
for the experimental population. Reintroduction could result in grizzly 
bear recovery in the Bitterroot Ecosystem in a minimum of 50 years. A 
recovered grizzly bear population (approximately 280 bears) potentially 
could kill an average of 6 cattle and 25 sheep and up to 504 wild 
ungulates per year. Nuisance bear incidents could average 37 per year. 
Economic analyses indicate grizzly bear recovery in the Bitterroot 
Ecosystem would lead to total economic benefits of approximately $40.4 
to $60.6 million per year.

DATES: Copies of the FEIS will be mailed to government offices, local 
and regional libraries, and interested parties who specifically 
requested the FEIS. A Summary of the FEIS will be mailed to all parties 
on the mailing list who did not specifically request the entire FEIS. 
Those interested persons not on the FEIS mailing list may request a 
copy from the project leader at the address below. It is anticipated 
that the Environmental Protection Agency will publish a Notice of 
Availability for this FEIS in the Federal Register on March 24, 2000. 
Public comments will be accepted from March 24, 2000, through April 24, 
2000. Public comment on the FEIS is solicited pursuant to the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations (40 CFR 1503.1). All 
agencies and individuals are urged to provide comments and suggestions 
regarding the FEIS for our review prior to completion of a Record of 
Decision. All comments received by the end of the comment period will 
be considered in preparation of the Record of Decision.
    All comments received from individuals on our environmental impact 
statements become part of the official public record. Requests for such 
comments will be handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information 
Act and the Council on Environmental Quality's NEPA regulations [40 CFR 
1506.6(f)]. When requested, comment letters with the names and 
addresses of the individuals who wrote the comments will generally be 
provided. However, the telephone number of the commenting individual 
will not be provided in response to such requests to the extent 
permissible by law. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home address from the record, which we will honor to the extent 
allowable by law. If you wish to withhold your name and or address, you 
must state this prominently at the beginning of your comments.

ADDRESSES: Written comments should be addressed to Dr. Christopher 
Servheen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Project Leader, Bitterroot 
Grizzly Bear FEIS, P.O. Box 5127, Missoula, Montana 59806. The document 
also is available for viewing and downloading at:http://www.r6.fws.gov/
endspp/grizzly/>. Written comments and materials regarding this 
information should be sent to the Recovery Coordinator at the address 
given above or can be mailed electronically to FW6__grizzly@fws.gov>. 
Comments and materials received are available on request for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Christopher Servheen, Grizzly Bear 
Recovery Coordinator (seeADDRESSES above), at telephone (406) 243-4903.



    The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered 
Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

    Dated: March 1, 2000.
Ralph O. Morgenweck,
Regional Director, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. 00-5729 Filed 3-8-00; 8:45 am]