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This week, we received notice that the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intend to move forward with an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process considering alternatives for grizzly bear restoration in the North Cascades Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone, including North Cascades National Park.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is working with these federal partners in the EIS process. WDFW anticipates its role will be to contribute technical assistance and local expertise as these federal entities scope and evaluate restoration alternatives and possible impacts, similar to the role described in a cooperating agreement adopted in 2014.
If a restoration alternative is selected through the EIS, WDFW anticipates that the presence of grizzly bears in the Cascades would require WDFW to respond to issues that may arise as well as supporting scientific monitoring and outreach to local communities and recreationists.
“We are committed to grizzly bear recovery in Washington and plan to partner with the federal agencies and provide technical support to their initiative,” said Eric Gardner, WDFW Wildlife Program Director. “WDFW has been an active participant in the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, working alongside other western states for the conservation and management of the species.”
WDFW has also been working on outreach and education, sanitation efforts, monitoring populations and other recovery implementation activities for decades, including efforts to reduce negative human-grizzly bear interactions.
Under a Washington state law (RCW 77.12.035), WDFW may not transplant or introduce grizzly bears into the state and may only use bears native to the state for management programs. In addition, WDFW must engage in all discussions with federal and state agencies relating to grizzly bear management.
WDFW continues to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to manage the grizzly bear population in northeast Washington’s Selkirk Mountains and continue efforts to recover the species as outlined in federal recovery plans.
Media contact: Communications Division