December 13, 2018

SCI Says, Wolf De-Listing Bill a Win for Hunters

A Press Release from the Safari Club International:

The U.S. House of Representatives today approved a bill that returns wolf management to states and is a step toward fixing flaws in the Endangered Species Act – something Safari Club International, on behalf of all hunters, has championed for years.
H.R. 6784, the Manage Our Wolves Act, was introduced in September by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI).  The bill was approved 196-180 and secured bipartisan support from nine Democrats and 187 Republicans.
Passage of the Manage Our Wolves Act will return management of the Western Great Lakes gray wolf population to the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The bill will also ensure that Wyoming’s gray wolf management remains under state authority and will direct the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to delist the remaining gray wolves of the lower 48 states, with the exception of Mexican wolves.
SCI President Paul Babaz was quick to praise the win on the House floor.
“First, thanks to Rep. Sean Duffy and so many other supportive Members of Congress for highlighting the critical need to recognize that recovery must lead to de-listing,” SCI President Babaz said.  “Second, this is a tremendous victory for hunters, wildlife conservation in general, and State wildlife managers.  All of them have played significant roles recovering gray wolf populations.”
While wolf recovery successes have been continually thwarted or ignored by courts acting on the many ambiguities or flaws in the wording of the ESA, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service states on its website: “the gray wolf has rebounded from the brink of extinction to exceed population targets by as much as 300 percent.  Today, there are estimated to be 5,691 gray wolves in the contiguous United States.  Wolf numbers continue to be robust, stable and self-sustaining.”
The recovery of the gray wolf is a success story and H.R. 6784 will help correctly transfer their management to the professionals at the state wildlife management agencies—the primary managers of our nation’s fish and wildlife resources.
“I’m very proud SCI has been a leader in ESA litigation efforts over so many years to help support wolf delisting,” SCI President Babaz added.  “Today’s win in Congress is an opportunity for federal legislators to clear away ESA’s roadblocks and enact laws to recognize easily documentable recovery efforts and restore State wildlife management authority.”
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Delisting Wolves: Going Down the Rabbit Hole

Going Down the Rabbit Hole

By James Beers:

My Inbox this morning had 5 separate copies of the news article, House of Representatives to vote on gray wolf delisting Friday from the Spokane newspaper.  Two of the senders asked what I thought, while the other three sent it for my information.  My following comments and the news article that follows them are provided for your consideration.)

Re: Wolf De Listing

This is only a temporary fix for everyone.  The basic authority for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, under the ESA, to relist and reintroduce wolves is not limited by this. 

So “they” (a temporarily benevolent Congress) make a law that wolves either in the Lower 48 or in certain States are not Endangered or Threatened and even that full management and authority over wolves (it cannot do this as long as the ESA authorizes federal bureaucrats and “scientists” to inform us that wolves are once again on the cusp of extinction in … and that the ESA “directs” and authorizes them to “save” the wolves.  Thank you, President Hillary or Alexandria Cortez or Jeff Flake or whoever wins the next electoral recounts.  Thank you as well to the next simultaneous House and Senate bursting with Dems, Socialists (but I repeat myself) and “get along” RINOS.  Do I believe that the Dems in the incoming or even current House will pass this?  Who, in Washington, will push this in the most toxic national political climate since 1860? What Dems or Republicans will fight for something Trump (think WALL, Ryan and OBAMACARE here) might possibly get any credit for?  The only thing really going for it is a blip in rural support for Washington mischief in the future (before reality is reintroduced about federal authority in such matters).

Imagine, that Wyoming (or NC or NM or ID, etc.) says “whoopie” now we can eliminate wolves in 21 0f our 23 counties (or even that they might think they could exterminate all their wolves).  Under a spineless governing class and with every rural resident back asleep because “wolves are delisted”, do you really think USFWS and that pack of hyenas they employ and even all those closet tinker belles now working in state “wildlife” agencies wouldn’t scare all the urban women and kids about the imminent demise of wolves everywhere and how they need to intervene quickly to “save” them under the provisions of the ESA?

Raise your hands if you really believe that Washington politicians would come out from under their desks to straighten things out.  What would stop it?  Some judge whose wife and daughter “love animals”? Some “scientist saying it’s all humbug” (how many of them have you seen lately)?  The same old line of XY&%# would be resurrected and plugged into the ESA’s un-Constitutional, unjust and destructive blather (but very real federal authority/jurisdiction/power grab that it wrought) about how federal bureaucrats and “scientists” trump (a great word) any delay or argument about private property rights, human health & safety, economics, liberty, domestic Tranquility, etc. etc.

States will try to respect federal and environmental demands using the rationale that “we can all get along, but that has never worked because the wolves are doing what they are supposed to do from wrecking ranching, shrinking hunting and destroying animal ownership like dogs.  Nearly all state agencies realize their bread is buttered by federal bureaucrats and national NGO’s, so challenging the status quo results in only a temporary respite much like “De-Regulation” enthusiasm.  They all know that any attempt to manage wolves as the people of the state want or most particularly the desires of those LIVING WITH WOLVES want will eventually meet with disaster for those attempting such impertinence.

The same goes for the Animal Welfare Act as a secondary tool of rural tyranny.  For instance, say North Carolina finds (as most states will) that you can neither count or “control” wolves satisfactorily and that:

  • Trapping.
  • Denning (the killing of wolf pups).
  • Year-around taking by a few shooters and young guys that enjoy shooting, hunting, etc. (exactly the young men and boys most affected by teachers, public pressure, recent laws, etc. feminizing American males).
  • Running dogs bred to run and kill wolves (in the Lower 48 States with a hodgepodge of private property?) as was the case centuries ago when the British, Scots and Irish invented and ran Wolfhounds to extirpate wolves when other methods were found to be inadequate.
  • Aerial control in certain areas.

Are the only methods that would really work but that no one dares even suggest for fear of reprisal.

Then when it sinks in that it is necessary to routinely use effective methods to maintain “tolerable” wolf levels and that whether on a local, state or Regional basis it is prohibitively expensive if attempted by government employees, and somewhat less expensive if done even by license-purchasing hunters given all the lawsuits, controversies and demands meant only to make any control impossible: enter the Animal Welfare Act as backup.

“Welfare” (as in “Animal”) folks, in collusion with the “environmental” folks will go to court; make arrests; charge; fine; and incarcerate those using “IN-humane” methods as decided by a judge or some Washington bureaucrats paid to enforce the AWA.  Grants and research will flourish and provide fodder for prohibitions.  “The ammunition is lead and eagles are dying.”  “Wolves are being wounded by inadequately trained gun owners”.  “Traps and dogs are ruled IN-humane and are prohibited”.  “Shooters are killing too many immature wolves because …”.  “Trapping during calving season is causing suffering to wolf pups still in the den”.  “There is insufficient ‘data’ to allow indiscriminate shooting of wolves’ impact on the family structure of packs in crowded habitats or in packs that roam vast areas”.  “Aerial control is cruel and unusual”. Etcetera, Etcetera.

All the while the wolves will increase, habituate, and continue to learn how to exist in the settled and artificial landscapes of the Lower 48 States. Expansion into ever-broader landscapes will occur as harassment increases, livestock is somewhat better protected, and wolf densities make roaming more and expanding their range to where wildlife, livestock and dogs are more available a likely outcome.

It is a much bigger mess than anyone admits or realizes.  These ramifications and problems are only increasing with time as wolf advocates imagine a success thus far, and wolf realists and Constitutionalists look to “De-Listing” as a solution for something that is only being covered up and kept out of site until favorable conditions return.

Pardon me if my unmentionables aren’t wadded up and my eyes all teary.

Jim Beers

16 November 2018

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others.  Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.net

If you no longer wish to receive these articles notify:  jimbeers7@comcast.net

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Panic-Stricken “Left” Sleepless Over Thought of Removing Wolves From ESA

The Echo Chambers across America are doing the bidding for Environmental groups, looking to raise more money for their wages and retirement plans. The Media is echoing that the Republican-led House is trying to pass a bill that would remove federal protections from wolves in the Lower 48 states. And of course, WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE if that happens.

What’s interesting with these “fake” media outlet echo chambers is they talk a big talk but NEVER do they provide their readers, and I mean NEVER, with a link to the actual bill proposal. Why is that? Is that because they don’t want anybody to read the words of these proposals and thus discover their BS lies they use to rob money from animal-loving ignorant people? I think so.

One outlet perhaps committed a “Freudian” slip when they wrote: “Republicans are furiously pushing legislation that would remove gray wolves in the 48 contiguous U.S. states from the list of threatened and endangered animals protected under the Environmental Species Act…” (emboldening added) I contend that this title is more exact in the practice than using the Endangered Species Act. Because it is money hungry, rabid environmental groups who “sue and settle” and are in cahoots with the Federal Government, calling it the Environmental Species Act is tell-tale.

For those who care, which I know are very few, here is the link to H.R. 6784, Manage Our Wolves Act.

From my perspective, this bill will not pass. And if it does pass, over the long haul doing so will be a big mistake because of the precedence it will set. Remember policy and precedence become the law of the land. What’s good for one group is good for another…just saying.

But then again, the Feds dumped their toxic, disease-ridden, hybrid dogs on us and now it appears the only reason the House Committee wants the bill passed is so the Feds won’t have to pay to continue protections and management of the canine mongrels.

And as I’ve said countless times:

DON’T GO LOOK!

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Sen. Murkowski Once Again Blocking Passage of Wolf Delisting Bill

An email from Tom Petri, State Legislative Director for U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (WI):

This is the fourth year in a row we’ve tried to get the wolf delist bill attached to the annual Interior & Environment (I&E) appropriations bill as a non-fiscal / policy rider.   Each of the past three years, we’ve gotten it into the final House spending bill, but not into the Senate’s.

Senator Murkowski (R-AK) has been the chairwoman of the Senate’s I&E appropriations subcommittee since 2014, and she has final say over the issue when the House-passed and Senate-passed bills are conferenced in an attempt to reconcile the differences between the two and find a final compromise.

The problem, to me, is that she always lets her staff cave in to democrats’ demands, and the wolf delist language, and most every other ESA-related policy rider always get pulled out of the final report at the very end of the process.

As you know, the vast majority of the Senate Dems view it as a poison pill policy rider, and the vast majority of Senate Republicans come from unaffected states, so most don’t care.  Murkowski’s staff always indicate they had to let it go in order to secure enough democrat support, and therefore allow the larger spending bill to have enough support for passage in the Senate (always need 60 votes).

To recap, while we’re hopeful, and Sen. Johnson is certainly engaged on a personal level again, I’m skeptical that Sen. Murkowski (or Leader McConnell for that matter) will suddenly prioritize the issue on our behalf this year.   If you think about it, they didn’t prioritize it and help us in 2016 when he was up for re-election, why would they now?

The Senator and staff are trying to work behind the scenes to make sure the House language survives the conference process, once we get there next month.

Hope that helps.  Feel free to share my update.

Tom-

Tom Petri

State Legislative Director

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)

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USFWS Begins Process To Delist Canada Lynx From ESA Protection

The self-flogging begins for those animal perverts whose selfish and bizarre world is coming to an end in their eyes. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has announced that it will open a public comment period to receive input on plans to remove the Canada lynx from protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Maine biologists say the state has a minimum of 1,000 animals and is thriving. The head of the Wildlife Alliance of Maine says that 1,000 or 1,200 Canada lynx are not enough – a typical response from animal protectionists who perpetually say there’s never enough of any animal.

We can only expect lawsuits to follow, which, no doubt, will delay and scientific conclusions and actions for at least another decade and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

It is my opinion that federal, state and local authorities had little to do with the Canada lynx recovery. If we should thank anyone for abundant Canada lynx, it would be the forest industry and spruce budworm for creating prime habitat for the snowshoe hare – the main diet of Canada lynx. When that habitat is gone, so will the snowshoe hare, followed soon thereafter by the Canada lynx that will migrate north or to some other region to find food.

The Federal Government and animal rights groups are misled or intentionally mislead on the myth of “Climate Change.” For this reason, more than likely it will be the convenient basis of lawsuits. The Feds state that “Climate Change” poses no threat to the animal into the near future. Animal rights groups are already saying “Climate Change” poses an immediate threat.

It doesn’t much matter. The system is rigged and will play out as already intended and planned.

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Bishop Statement on Gray Wolf Court Ruling

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 2, 2017 –

Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement on the Federal appeals court ruling concerning protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

“When science-based recovery criteria are met and environmental litigants can still drag the federal government through a decade of costly litigation before the delisting is final, we have a problem. Republicans and Democrats from impacted states have worked hard to resolve this conflict and ensure wolf populations are healthy and thriving but all they’ve received in return is prolonged economic harm and regulatory uncertainty. When ESA decisions are taken out of the hands of expert biologists and given to judges and radical ideologues, this is what happens.

“Congress must take action to protect communities from this broken law. Until we do, Americans’ tax dollars will continue padding the pockets of wealthy environmental trial lawyers, rather than investing in actual species recovery.”

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Court Sides with Sportsmen on Key Issue, but Leaves Wolves Protected for Now

Press Release from the Sportsmen’s Alliance:

On Tuesday, Aug. 1, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued its ruling in the Western Great Lakes wolf lawsuit appeal. The ruling is a short-term setback, but very likely a win for sportsmen in the long run.

For the immediate future, the Appellate Court’s decision leaves Endangered Species Act listing in place, upholding the lower court’s 2014 ruling that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) erred in delisting wolves in 2011. Very importantly, however, the court laid out a road map for FWS to delist the Western Great Lakes wolves on remand and dismantled many of the dangerous and unsupported holdings in the lower court decision.

Additionally, the appellate court ruled in favor of sportsmen on the most important legal issue in the case regarding the distinct population segment (DPS) definition in the Endangered Species Act and the Fish and Wildlife Service’s DPS Policy. The appellate court sided with the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and our partners that the FWS has the ability to list and, as in this case, delist a species at the distinct population segment level:

“The central dispute in this case is whether the Endangered Species Act permits the Service to carve out of an already-listed species a “distinct population segment” for the purpose of delisting that segment and withdrawing it from the Act’s aegis. We hold that the Act permits such a designation, but only when the Service first makes the proper findings.” (Op. at 15-16).

This ruling means that, if the Fish and Wildlife Service takes the right steps, they are able to delist a recovered species in some places (a distinct population) without having to delist it everywhere. This flexibility will make the ESA more efficient and possibly subject to fewer legal challenges. HSUS and their partners had argued that FWS could never delist a smaller portion of a species unless the entire species had fully recovered and could be removed from the Endangered Species Act protections. HSUS has now lost that point.

“The court’s ruling that regional delisting is legally possible is a victory for sound scientific wildlife management and further upholds DPS policy of the Endangered Species Act as an important tool for conservation moving forward,” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “While we clearly would have preferred that wolves be returned to state management today, this ruling provides a path forward for the Fish and Wildlife Service on how to successfully delist wolves once and for all.

“Folks in the animal-rights community would like believe that the Endangered Species Act is a one-way ratchet. In their world, you can only put species on to the Endangered Species List based upon a distinct population segment. However, we know that this is not how the ESA is written,” continued Heusinkveld. “This distorted view of the DPS policy is simply emblematic of their view of the ESA as a whole. They view this as a means to enshrine federal protections in perpetuity, as opposed to a tool to help those in need recover and be returned to state management.”

Additionally, the appellate court dismantled many of the main arguments provided by the HSUS-led coalition and holdings of the unfavorable lower court opinion:

  • The court upheld FWS’s interpretation that the ESA’s definition of “range” refers to “current range” at the time of the listing or delisting decision that is the subject of the case, not “historic range,” as HSUS argued. HSUS’ interpretation would mean that populations may never be delisted if they could not rebound throughout their historic range. However, the court said FWS must consider large losses in historical range in evaluating the continuing viability of the species in its current range. On remand, FWS must decide the “baseline” date from which historical range loss is measured. One likely date could be 1973 – the year Congress enacted the ESA.
  • HSUS argued that FWS failed to explain why the wolf population’s combined mortality from humans and disease is not a continuing threat to the species’ existence. The court found that FWS had thoroughly examined these factors, and that the wolf population had continued to grow despite any disease or human-caused mortality.
  • HSUS attempted to characterize Minnesota as an “unregulated killing zone.” While the lower court decision had agreed, the Circuit Court disagreed and found that Minnesota’s depredation plan did not amount to an “unregulated killing zone,” as it was indeed regulated and unlikely to threaten wolves’ survival.
  • HSUS argued the lack of state regulatory plans to monitor and protect the Western Great Lake wolves outside of their core recovery areas in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan did not support FWS’s decision to delist those wolves. The court found that the lack of separate state plans in six nearby states was not a concern because wolves are virtually non-existent in those states, and those animals that do occasionally appear there are protected by other measures or they do not significantly contribute to the WGL population.
  • HSUS challenged the 2011 rule on genetics issues concerning whether there are one or two wolf species. The court rejected the HSUS argument that there were two separate species of wolves, and thereby additional protections were warranted.
  • HSUS argued that FWS had inappropriately responded to political pressure from Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D, Minnesota) in adopting its wolf-delisting order. The court rejected that argument, stating that HSUS could point to no science “ignored, misused, or manipulated” or to any material change in FWS’ position in response to a letter from Sen. Klobuchar. In particular, the court cites that FWS had acted favorably in response to several delisting petitions (including the Sportsmen’s Alliance petition) before Sen. Klobuchar’s letter.

How We Got Here:

The case stems from a late 2014 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell that ruled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had to return wolves found in the western Great Lakes area to the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act. At the crux of the case was the delisting of a “distinct population segment” of wolves from the Endangered Species Act.

The lawsuit brought by Humane Society of the United States; Born Free, USA; Help Our Wolves Live; and Friends of Animals and Their Environment argued that despite a healthy population of wolves that had surpassed all recovery goals in the western Great Lakes region, since wolf populations haven’t recovered in all 50 states, the animals must remain under federal protection as an endangered species even where they have recovered.

“This 2014 ruling clearly ignored years of Fish and Wildlife Service policy, court rulings and plain common sense,” said Heusinkveld. “The idea that wolves can never be deemed ‘recovered’ in the Great Lakes states until they have recovered across the entire U.S. is a complete fantasy.”

Joining the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation in this case, was the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, the National Rifle Association, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Wisconsin Bowhunters Association, Upper Peninsula Bear Houndsmen Association and Michigan Hunting Dog Federation.

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Department of Interior Announces Recovery and Delisting of Yellowstone Grizzly Population

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The U.S. Department of Interior announced the recovery of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population as well as its intent to remove federal protections and return management to state agencies.

“The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supports the delisting of grizzly bears,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “It’s been a long time coming and we think this is the appropriate move by Secretary Zinke and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

The Yellowstone population rebounded from as few as 136 bears in 1975 to an estimated 700 today. Confirmed sightings of grizzlies are taking place in locations where they have not previously been seen for more than 100 years as they extend their range in the Northern Rockies.

“This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes; the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of the state, tribal, federal and private partners,” said U.S, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “As a Montanan, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together.”

The Yellowstone grizzly population meets all delisting criteria. These factors include not only the number and distribution of bears throughout the ecosystem, but also the quantity and quality of the habitat available and the states’ commitments to manage the population from now on in a manner that maintains its healthy and secure status.

“We do caution everybody to manage their expectations about the potential of hunting grizzly bears. The reality is there will be very minimal hunting of grizzly bears for the next several years. Those who oppose the delisting are going to try and use ‘trophy hunting’ as a major obstacle and reason not to delist grizzly bears. It’s purely rhetoric and propaganda,” added Allen.

The final rule, and the supporting documents, will publish in coming days in the Federal Register and the rule will take effect 30 days after publication.

Press Release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

Partners celebrate Endangered Species Act delisting following decades of collaboration

June 22, 2017

WASHINGTON – Due to the success of conservation efforts and collaboration among a variety of stakeholders, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced today that the Yellowstone population of the grizzly bear has been recovered to the point where federal protections can be removed and overall management can be returned to the states and tribes. The population has rebounded from as few as 136 bears in 1975 to an estimated 700 today and meets all the criteria for delisting.

“As a kid who grew up in Montana, I can tell you that this is a long time coming and very good news for many communities and advocates in the Yellowstone region,” said Secretary Zinke. “This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes; the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of the state, tribal, federal and private partners. As a Montanan, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together.”

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) Distinct Population Segment (DPS) consists of portions of northwestern Wyoming, southwestern Montana and eastern Idaho. Grizzly bear populations outside of this DPS in the lower 48 states will be treated separately under the ESA and will continue to be protected.

The GYE grizzly bear population is one of the best studied bear populations in the world thanks to the longstanding efforts of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST). Population and habitat monitoring efforts undertaken by the IGBST indicate that GYE Grizzly Bears have more than doubled their range since the mid-1970s. They now occupy more than 22,500 square miles, an area larger than the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut combined. Stable population numbers for grizzly bears for more than a decade also suggest that the GYE is at or near its capacity to support grizzly bears. This decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) was informed by over four decades of intensive, independent scientific efforts.

The GYE grizzly bear population was determined to be recovered because multiple factors indicate it is healthy and will be sustained into the future. These factors include not only the number and distribution of bears throughout the ecosystem, but also the quantity and quality of the habitat available and the states’ commitments to manage the population from now on in a manner that maintains its healthy and secure status.

In addition to this final rule, the USFWS will also release a final supplement to the 1993 Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan for the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear population. The Conservation Strategy that describes management of the grizzly bear following delisting was finalized by the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the IGBC in December of 2016. That document can be found here: http://igbconline.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/161216_Final-Conservation-Strategy_signed.pdf.

The final rule, and the supporting documents, will publish in coming days in the Federal Register and the rule will take effect 30 days after publication. More information can be found here: https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/es/grizzlyBear.php.

Press Release from House Committee on Natural Resources and Energy:

Bishop: Grizzly Delisting Process Emblematic of Need for ESA Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 22, 2017

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem will be delisted from the endangered species list. Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement:

“I commend this Administration and the Department of the Interior for delisting the grizzly bear even though it  should have been done years ago. States are far more capable of managing the grizzly population than the federal government. The time it took to get this delisting is the latest evidence that reform of ESA is sorely needed. Recovery and delisting — and responsible state management that will prevent listings in the first place — must be the goals of ESA, not lifetime sentences on the endangered list fraught with frivolous litigation.”

Background:

Grizzly bears are currently listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Delisting the species will allow states the ability to manage populations within their borders.

The grizzly bear population was originally delisted in 2007, but relisted in 20009 following litigation. In 2016, FWS proposed to delist the grizzly bear population as former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar deemed the population “unquestionably recovered” in 2012. The population has remained either steady or increasing for close to a decade.

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Removing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Population of Grizzly Bears From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the public comment period on our March 11, 2016, proposed rule to revise the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, under the authority of the Endangered Species Act, by removing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis). In our proposed rule, we emphasized that the governments of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho needed to promulgate regulations managing human-caused mortality of grizzly bears before we would proceed with a final rule. Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho recently finalized such mechanisms. We are also announcing the receipt of five independent peer reviews of the proposed rule. We are reopening the comment period for the proposed rule to allow all interested parties an additional opportunity to comment on the proposed rule in light of these documents. If you submitted comments previously, you do not need to resubmit them because we have already incorporated them into the public record and will fully consider them in preparing the final rule.<<<Read More>>>

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Alliance Submits Comments on Delisting of Grizzly Bears

Press Release from the Sportsmen’s Alliance:

The Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation recently submitted comments in favor of delisting of the grizzly bear as a threatened species under the federal the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Alliance supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service findings that the bear population has recovered and stringent ESA protections are no longer necessary.

“Grizzly bears have undeniably recovered in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and their removal from the Endangered Species Act is long overdue,” said Evan Heusinkveld, President and CEO of Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation. “It is well within in the authority of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist this distinct population of bears. In fact, at this point it’s incumbent upon them to do so as outlined in the ESA.”

The result of a 30-year collaborative effort between federal and state agencies, and using the best available science and wildlife management principles, all evidence suggests Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear populations have surpassed recovery goals by 25 percent and have remained stable and above recovery goals for nearly a decade while also tripling their occupied range.

Not only has the grizzly bear population recovered and stabilized, threats to that population have been mitigated to the point that they no longer meet the definition of endangered, or even threatened.

“All available evidence suggests that this grizzly bear population will continue to flourish after delisting,” said Heusinkveld. “That’s a testament to decades of work by USFWS and its partners, and which includes post-delisting monitoring and management plans that will ensure the species is never again threatened with extinction in the Lower 48 states.”

Clearly outlined in the Endangered Species Act are requirements for U.S. Fish and Wildlife to, at any time, remove a species, subspecies or distinct population segment of a species from the protections of the act once recovery goals have been met.

Once delisted, the Sportsmen’s Alliance encourages the U.S. Forest Service, National Wildlife Refuges and other federal land managers to defer to state wildlife population management to the maximum extent permitted by law.

“The National Parks Service and U. S Forest Service manage 88 percent of lands within suitable grizzly habitat,” said Heusinkveld. “Those federal agencies should respect state management goals and future hunting seasons by not passing any special rules or policies that would encroach on the ability of Idaho, Montana or Wyoming to manage grizzlies within the current federal framework.”

One remaining threat, however, is a lawsuit from animal rights and anti-hunting organizations. “These groups have shown that population recovery is simply not enough to meet their insatiable demands,” said Heusinkveld. “Just like with wolves, no level of recovery will ever satisfy their desires to keep the bears listed as a threatened.”

As with wolves currently, keeping grizzly bears listed as threatened or endangered compromises other populations of predator and prey species, even the very habitat itself, found within the completely managed ecosystems.

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