On Thursday, environmental groups praised a decision made by the Biden administrationto reopen studies on whether grizzly bears need to be returned to Washington’s remote North Cascades ecosystem.
The National Park Service (USA) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (USA) have announced that they will jointly prepare an environmental impact statement on restoring endangered bears to North Cascades. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that they would collaborate to prepare an environmental impact report on the restoration of endangered bears in the North Cascades.
The agencies stated that the restoration of the ecosystem will help the recovery of endangered animals in the Northwest because the bears were removed from it by hunters long ago.
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Andrea Zaccardi, Center for Biological Diversity said that “This reverses the Trump administration’s rash terminations of these plans.” “Without help, the Pacific Northwest’s grizzly bears will disappear.”
In 2015, the agencies started a study to restore grizzly bears in North Cascades by using a trapping process and a relocation process. The Trump administration ended the study in 2020 without giving any explanation. The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in federal court in the District of Columbia challenging the termination.
The North Cascades, which covers more than 9500 acres and is centered around North Cascades National Park, is one of the most extensive wild areas in the lower 48 US states. It also encompasses large areas of the surrounding national forests.
Other conservation groups also applauded the decision.
Kathleen Callaghy, Defenders of Wildlife, stated that the North Cascades has been missing an essential part of its unique ecosystem for far too long. “Returning the wild grizzlies will make this amazing wilderness once again.”
Public comment will be allowed on the environmental impact statements.
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Gordon Congdon, a former fruit grower from nearby Wenatchee in Washington, stated that they are optimistic that the process will result in a decision about how to successfully restore grizzly Bears to North Cascades. This was based on sound science and strong public involvement.
The North Cascades Ecosystem, one of two grizzly recovery zones, does not have an established bear population. Environmental groups claim that because of its isolation and relative distance from other zones, it is unlikely to be repopulated by natural bear migration.
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Chris Servheen, retired as the Grizzly Bear Rehabilitation Coordinator for the U.S. in 2016, said that “we know how bears can be moved successfully to new places and how to live safely with them.” Fish and Wildlife Service continues to promote grizzly recovery.
The proposal would see the two agencies capture grizzly bears from British Columbia and the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem of the Rocky Mountains. Over the course of five to ten years, approximately three to seven grizzly beavers would be released each year into North Cascades.