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Monday, October 26, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Comment extended for North Cascades grizzly bear restoration

Grizzly bear and cub. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Grizzly bear and cub. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

THREATENED SPECIES -- The public is being given more time to comment on four options 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.

In a series of public meetings on both sides of the Cascades this winter, the proposals received mixed reviews.

In a media release, officials from the agencies said they received several requests for an extension to the comment period from members of the public and local elected officials. 

According to the release:

The goal of the public comment period is to gather comments regarding the draft Environmental Impact Statement; public comments received on the draft EIS will be evaluated and considered in the identification of the preferred alternative, which will be published in the Final EIS.

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 sizeable 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.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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