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Field reports: Field Reports: Cascades grizzly plan comment period extended

Sun., March 19, 2017, 6 a.m.

THREATENED SPECIES – The public is being given more time to comment on proposals for restoring grizzly bears to the North Cascades in Washington.

The National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have extended the public comment period regarding the proposed alternatives for the restoration of grizzly bears to the North Cascades Ecosystem by 45 days, through April 28.

Officials from the agencies said they received several requests for an extension to the comment period on the the draft Environmental Impact Statement from members of the public and local elected officials.

The alternatives analyzed in this draft EIS include a “no-action” alternative, plus three action alternatives that would seek to restore a reproducing population of approximately 200 bears through the capture and release of grizzly bears into the North Cascades Ecosystem.

The alternatives were developed by a planning team with input from the public, local, state and federal agencies, and the scientific community.

The grizzly bear was listed as a threatened species in the contiguous United States in 1975. The species was listed as endangered by the state of Washington in 1980.

The North Cascades Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone, anchored by North Cascades National Park, was designated by federal scientists in 1997, when it was determined the region has sufficient quality habitat to support a sizable grizzly population. It is the only grizzly bear recovery area on the west coast of the contiguous United States.

The other four recovery zones are in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

Walleye fishing clinic at two locations

FISHING – A free 2-hour walleye fishing seminar will be presented at two locations in Spokane on Saturday:

  • 10 a.m. at General Store, 2424 N. Division St.
  • 2 p.m. at The Fishing Hole, 1330 N. Argonne St.

The program will be presented by Ross Outdoor Adventures, which offers warmwater fishing guide service for Potholes Reservoir, Moses Lake, Banks Lake and Lake Roosevelt.

Forest Service seeks campground hosts

CAMPING – Some national forests are taking applications for volunteer campground hosts throughout the region.

Hosts are given a free RV camping site for the summer season and sometimes a stipend for dealing with campers and maintaining the facilities.

The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, for example, is seeking hosts for roughly a dozen campgrounds at its various ranger districts, including Kelly Forks Campground at the confluence of Kelly Creek and the North Fork of the Clearwater River.

Park bison harvest near 1,300 goal

WILDLIFE – Nearly 1,000 Yellowstone National Park bison have been killed this season, wildlife officials say.

Bison managers are making progress on their goal to eliminate as many as 1,300 bison from the Yellowstone area. A 2000 management plan calls for a population of 3,000 bison in the region, but approximately 5,500 roam there now.

The herd is culled through public hunting and shipping some bison to slaughter. Slaughtered bison become meat for various Native American tribes.

Officials say roughly 650 bison have been caught for slaughter so far and around 400 have been shipped.

Bison cannot be hunted in the park, but instead are caught when they migrate into the Gardiner basin.

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