Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has released a proposed rule for guiding the grizzly bear population in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, which covers a large swath of Northwestern Montana including parts of Lake and Missoula Counties. FWP spokeswoman Vivaca Crowser, explains

“There are a lot of elements to it,” Crowser said. “I encourage folks to take a look. It is not as simple as just a number, but that is a piece of it, maintaining at least 800 bears in the NCDE. There are a lot of other elements too dealing with how many females and what the distribution of bears look like and wanting to maintain a certain threshold for mortality.”

The proposed population guide is open for public comments till October 26. When grizzly bears are fully delisted from the endangered species act, the population rule would help to guide the overall grizzly bear conservation strategy.

“This comment period right now is really specific to the population objectives and putting in place an arm rule, or an administrative rule in Montana that would be the kind of check for that conservation strategy if it were to be put in place upon delisting,” Crowser said. “It is way to hold accountable Montana to those objectives in the conservation strategy.”

A hearing about the proposed ARM rule will be held in Missoula next Wednesday, September 26 at 6:30 at the Holiday Inn Downtown.