The USFWS "Proposed Delisting Package" and state grizzly bear management plans

On March 4, 2016 the US Fish and Wildlife service released their proposal to delist the grizzly bears of the Yellowstone area from the Endangered Species List. Throughout this website the entire proposal is referred to as the "Proposed Delisting Package." This "Package" constitutes the proposed legal and management framework that will govern management of grizzly bears once the bears are removed from the Endangered Species List and the protections provided by the Endangered Species Act.

The states are mandated to conform to the "Proposed Rule" and since the release of the delisting package have been working to update their management plans. Wyoming has ratified their management plan, and Montana's plan is currently in the public comment phase (comments due by June XX). Idaho has declined to update their plan asserting that it conforms to the Proposed Rule.

The Tri-State Memorandum is an agreement between the state of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho on how to allocate "Discretionary Mortality" - i.e., hunting and management "removals" -between the three states.

+ The USFWS "Proposed Delisting Package"

The USFWS "Proposed Delisting Package" runs over 850 pages and incorporates by reference some 280 different scientific studies, agency reports and similar documents resulting in a total package of many thousands of pages. The most important component of the Package is the Proposed Rule which is the predecessor to the Final Rule which, when published in the Federal Register, becomes the law of the land.

The Package also contains the justifications for the USFWS decision to delist grizzly bears.

Press Release (3 pages)
The Proposed Rule (223 pages)
The Draft Conservation Strategy (133 pages)
Appendices to the Conservation Strategy (473 pages)
Supplement to the Grizzly Recovery Plan (17 pages)
Literature Cited (25 pages)
FAQ (3 pages)
Map (1 page)

Many in the conservation community believe the "Package" is a very poorly written plan replete with contradictions, errors, sloppy drafting and vagaries.

One of the most obvious faults of the Package is its reliance on a declaration that the GYE grizzly population constitutes a "Distinct Population Segment (DPS)." The ESA does not allow for declaring Distinct Population Segments and the concept is currently being litigated in a case involving the wolves of the upper midwest. Should the USFWS lose that case, it will almst certainly negate the USFWS' attempt to delist the grizzlie of the GYE at this time. In other words, back to the drawing board.

+ State grizzly Bear management Plans

Wyoming Grizzly Bear Management Plan
Montana Grizzly Bear Management Plan (Draft)
Idaho Grizzly Bear Management Plan

+ The Tri-State Memorandum

Tri-State Memorandum Regarding Management and Allocation of Discretionary Mortality of Grizzly Bears in the Greater yellowstone Ecosystem