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Grizzly bears in Washington?

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Grizzly bears in Washington?
September 16, 2010 09:34PM
In Search of the Grizzly (if Any Are Left)
Published: September 16, 2010

... For nearly 30 years the federal government has had a program to help restore the grizzly bear population in Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming. It has made a difference in places like Yellowstone National Park and the Continental Divide region of Montana, but not in the North Cascades, one of six designated recovery zones. Instead, this area has been locked in a virtual standstill as political winds shift over the preservation of large predators.

Grizzlies were named a protected species in 1975. Under protection, their population tripled in parts of the Rockies and by 2007, they were removed from the list. But last September, a federal judge in Montana ordered grizzlies back on, citing threats that included changes to their habitat caused by climate change.

In the North Cascades, wildlife officials agreed 13 years ago to conduct a formal environmental review to determine the best way to ensure recovery, including augmenting the population with bears from elsewhere. But the money needed for the review, $1 million to $2 million, has never been allocated by the perpetually strapped agency that oversees the effort, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Now experts say only a handful of grizzlies may remain in the North Cascades, likely crossing back and forth over the border with Canada.

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