The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service filed a proposal on the Federal Register to establish a nonessential experimental population of grizzly bears under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act in Washington’s North Cascades Ecosystem.
“If this part of our natural heritage is restored, it should be done in a way that ensures communities, property, and the animals can all coexist peacefully. A 10(j) experimental designation could provide the tools to do that,” said Hugh Morrison, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service regional director.
After a series of public meetings, the U.S. Department of Interior announced in 2020 that it would not place grizzlies in the Northern Cascades. Several months later, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed suit seeking to forcibly introduce grizzlies.
“Time and again, our communities have spoken to express staunch opposition to the introduction of these apex predators, which would be detrimental to our families, wildlife, and livestock alike,” said Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA). “I’m beyond disappointed that the Biden Administration is ignoring our concerns by moving forward with the introduction while putting on the façade of seeking more public input after their decision has clearly been made.”
CBD also filed a 2019 lawsuit seeking to force grizzly bears into Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Specific locations mentioned include California’s Sierra Nevada, the Selway-Bitterroot in Idaho and Montana, and the Grand Canyon.
The opportunity to submit public comment on the latest proposal is open until November 13, 2023.
(Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey)