Press Release
Draft Criteria for Recovering Northwestern Montana Grizzly Bears Released for Public Review and Comment

DENVER –The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is soliciting input from the scientific community and the broader public on draft criteria set for the eventual recovery of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) grizzly bear. The NCDE region encompasses Glacier National Park and other parts of northwestern Montana.

The draft Supplement to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan: Habitat-Based Recovery Criteria for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, released today, proposes to establish objective and measurable, habitat-based recovery criteria for the NCDE grizzly that are directly related to grizzly bear population health. 

Recovering listed species to the point they are once again secure and self-sustaining is the ultimate goal of the Endangered Species Act. Recovery plans and their benchmark recovery criteria guide the on-the-ground efforts of a broad range of partners all committed to this common goal.

 The Service is seeking information from state, tribal, and federal partners, the scientific community, non-governmental organizations and members of the public on our proposed criteria to ensure that the Service is using the best available science to recover the NCDE grizzly bear. The Service will hold a workshop to seek the input of scientists, the public, and interested organizations on January 3, 2018, in Missoula, Montana.

This draft supplement will help support grizzly recovery efforts in the NCDE by establishing objective and measurable habitat-based recovery criteria that maintain population levels at or above the 2011 levels.  Habitat conditions in 2011 are believed to be representative of conditions that supported and contributed to the healthy population growth observed from 2004 to 2011. 

The 1993 Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan identifies distinct recovery zones, and unique recovery criteria for six different grizzly bear populations, including the NCDE. It outlines guidance on methods to minimize threats to grizzly bears, and demographic criteria to measure if recovery has been achieved.

The proposed supplement published in the Federal Register today with a 45-day public comment period.  The public comment period will close on January 26, 2018.

The public can view the proposals on at Docket number FWS-R6-ES-2017-0057, and comments will be accepted until January 26, 2018 and may be submitted electronically on, or by mail  to:  Public Comments Processing, Attn:  FWS–RX–ES–2017–0057; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.  

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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