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NFC: Fw: Support Grizzly Bear Reintroduction to the Bitterroot Wilderness
SUPPORT GRIZZLY BEAR REINTRODUCTION TO THE BITTERROOT WILDERNESS
Endangered species opponents and anti-bear groups are mobilizing their
grassroots to scuttle a new plan to reintroduce grizzly bears to a
remote federal wilderness area of western Montana and central Idaho.
We need you to let the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service know that you
support restoration of this threatened species.
A century ago, grizzly bears dominated the forests and mountains of
the American West. Due to habitat loss and unregulated killing, today
only a thousand bears survive in the lower 48 states. Since the
grizzly bear was listed as a ‘threatened' species in 1975, efforts
to recover the bear have focused primarily on managing existing grizzly
populations in Yellowstone National Park and northwestern Montana's
Glacier National Park/Bob Marshall Wilderness complex. Now that those
populations seem to be doing well, attention has shifted to
reintroducing bears to the 15-million-acre Bitterroot ecosystem in
central Idaho, which contains four million acres of designated
wilderness, low road densities, and ample food and habitat.
After five years of study and evaluating public comments, the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service has selected a unique proposal to restore
the grizzly to the Bitterroot ecosystem. The proposal, called the
Citizen Management Plan, calls for: (1) focusing reintroduction
efforts in the Selway-Bitterroot wilderness, (2) establishing a
15-member bear management committee consisting of state and federal
officials, tribal representatives and local citizens and (3) increasing
flexibility to manage bears that cause problems. The proposal could
potentially increase bear numbers in the continental U.S. by a third,
and begin to link bear populations in Yellowstone and northwestern
Montana. The citizen plan was developed by a diverse coalition
including conservation groups like Defenders of Wildlife and the
National Wildlife Federation, the timber industry, and organized
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Let the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service know that you support grizzly
bear recovery through the Citizen Management Plan. Please take a
minute and send an e-mail to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
supporting grizzly bear restoration through the Citizen Management
Plan. YOUR COMMENTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY APRIL 24, 2000!
INSTRUCTIONS TO RESPOND VIA THE WEB:
If you have access to the web, simply click on the link below which
will take you to the DEN Action Center web site:
INSTRUCTIONS TO RESPOND VIA EMAIL:
If you do not have web access, you can still respond to this alert.
Simply, choose the "reply to sender" option on your email program.
Be sure to include the original message in your reply. Then edit the
message provided below or send it as is and press SEND. We will
automatically add your name to the letter and send it to the correct
e-mail address or fax number. You must include the whole letter in
your response starting with "==START OF LETTER==" and ending with
"==END OF LETTER==."
We strongly encourage you to personalize your message by putting
the message in your own words or adding personal thoughts. A
personalized letter is viewed as more important than a computer-
generated one. However, hundreds of unedited letters will still
have a large impact. Therefore, please reply even if you don't have
time to personalize the letter.
==== START OF LETTER - ALERT 12 ==== DO NOT REMOVE THIS MARKER
Dear U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
I strongly support the reintroduction of grizzlies to the Bitterroot
ecosystem under the Citizen Management Plan (Alternative 1). Restoration
of the grizzly bear to the Bitterroot ecosystem could expand grizzly
bear numbers and range by nearly a third, significantly improving
the status of this imperiled species. This proposal strikes an excellent
balance between restoring grizzlies and respecting the needs of people
who will live near the bears. Bears should thrive in this lightly-
populated area. Please consider the following points as you move forward
with a final decision:
* Bear Numbers Are Perilously Low in the Lower 48 - Although
populations in the Yellowstone and Glacier National Park areas seem
to have increased during the last decade, overall numbers still hover
around a thousand animals. Scientists agree that these numbers must
be increased significantly before the species presence in the lower
48 can be considered secure.
* The Bitterroot ecosystem contains excellent bear habitat -
With nearly four million acres of designated wilderness and another
several million acres of roadless country, this area has the kind of
isolation that bears need. Moreover, a recent scientific report
concludes that the area contains excellent bear foods, including
huckleberries and whitebark pine.
* Potential Conflicts With Industrial Activities Are Low - The
existing situation on national forests lands surrounding designated
wilderness areas appears very favorable for bears. Both oil and gas
and mineral potential in this area is low, there are no public land
grazing allotments in the vicinity of the reintroduction area, and
current timber harvest activities are modest.
* The Citizen Management Plan Carefully Considers Potential
With People - This proposal calls for moving or placing in captivity
bears that routinely come into conflict with people. The intent of
our plan is to restore grizzly bear populations to wilderness areas
and lightly-populated areas, not to valley bottoms where people live.
* The Citizen Management Plan Provides Direct Bear Management
Involvement for People Who Live near - Defenders of Wildlife worked
collaboratively with the timber industry and organized labor to
develop a grizzly reintroduction plan, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service has now adopted. The centerpiece of this plan is creation
of a citizen management committee that would be responsible for
management of the Bitterroot population. While this committee has
considerable authority, it must follow the same endangered species
rules as federal agencies. It must use the best scientific information
and its actions must lead to recovery.
Because grizzly bears reproduce so slowly, it may take thirty years
or more to establish a healthy population. I strongly urge the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service to fully fund both the citizen management
committee and the grizzly reintroduction as soon as possible. This
is the most important grizzly bear conservation initiative that the
service will undertake in this decade.
Thank you for consideration of my comments.
(Your name and signature will automatically be added here)
==== END OF LETTER - ALERT 12 ==== DO NOT REMOVE THIS MARKER
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Defenders of Wildlife is a leading national conservation organization
recognized as one of the nation's most progressive advocates for
wildlife and its habitat and known for its effective leadership on
saving endangered species such as brown bears and gray wolves, Defenders
advocates new approaches to wildlife conservation that protect species
before they become endangered. Founded in 1947, Defenders is a nonprofit
501(c)(3)organization with nearly 400,000 members and supporters.
Defenders of Wildlife
1101 14th Street, NW, Suite 1400
Washington, DC 20005
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