Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has extended comment to Sept. 30 on the draft of an updated conservation and management plan for grizzly bears in southwestern Montana.
The draft plan, developed over the past year in conjunction with a programmatic environmental impact statement, addresses state management options once the area's more than 700 grizzly bears are removed from the federal list of threatened species.
The programmatic EIS examines an array of issues and two possible alternatives—including no action. Comment was to end Sept. 16 but FWP extended the comment period to Sept. 30 in response to requests for more time to examine the document.
Among the issues considered in the EIS are population monitoring, habitat management, nuisance grizzly bear management, future distribution and the potential for grizzly bear hunting.
FWP held open houses last month in Bozeman, Helena and Billings to discuss and examine the draft plan.
Copies of the draft plan and comment forms are available online at fwp.mt.gov. Click "SW MT Grizzly Bear Management Plan." Public comment will be accepted through 5 p.m. Sept. 30.
A final decision notice is expected from FWP in October, and then considered for approval by the Fish & Wildlife Commission in November. For more information, call 406-444-2612, or visit the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov.