Montana Grizzly Bears Win Big In Court – Habitat Protected!

Earthjustice Grizzly Bear News

October 9, 2015

Missoula, MT —

Montana’s federal district court approved and adopted a settlement agreement today between conservationists and state officials that ensures long-term protection for more than 22,000 acres of important grizzly bear habitat on state forest lands near Whitefish, Montana.

The settlement represents an agreement between the conservation groups Friends of the Wild Swan, Montana Environmental Information Center, and Natural Resources Defense Council, represented by Earthjustice, with officials from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (“DNRC”) concerning management of grizzly bear habitat on the 90,500-acre Stillwater and Coal Creek state forests in northwest Montana. The settlement resolves a lawsuit that the conservation groups filed in March 2013 to challenge a government proposal to reduce grizzly bear habitat protections on the state forest lands.

Under the settlement, DNRC will designate seven grizzly bear security zones encompassing 22,007 acres within which:

• Motorized activities will be prohibited during spring, summer, and fall periods when grizzlies are actively using the landscape;

• No permanent road construction will be allowed; and

• Any temporary roads must be reclaimed to prevent use by vehicles, including off-road vehicles.

“This agreement ensures protection for the last, best grizzly bear habitat remaining on state lands in Montana,” said Earthjustice Attorney Timothy Preso, who represented the groups in negotiating the agreement.

“The agreement promises grizzly conservation for decades,” added Arlene Montgomery of Friends of the Wild Swan. “Even if the area’s grizzlies are someday removed from the protections of the Endangered Species Act, these protective measures will endure because they will be incorporated into the conservation strategy for long-term grizzly management.”

“The protected lands provide connectivity to neighboring national forest lands to maintain an unbroken habitat link for bears that move out from Glacier National Park,”said Kyla Maki of the Montana Environmental Information Center.

Matt Skoglund of the Natural Resources Defense Council added, “Under this agreement, the protected grizzly bear security zones include important habitat areas such as avalanche chutes where grizzly bears forage for the natural foods they need to survive.  Multiple generations of grizzlies will benefit from being able to utilize these habitat areas without disturbance.”

View the settlement agreement and the Court’s order.

grizzly cub and mom


 Top Photo: Courtesy Earthjustice

Bottom photo: grizzly bear wallpaper

Posted in: grizzly bears

Tags: grizzly habitat protected, 22,000 acres, Montana, Earthjustice

Published in: on October 14, 2015 at 11:28 am  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yay!!!! Wow! I had to cheer even before reading the entire thing. Thanks for the good news!


  2. I had hoped that the grizzly issue in areas it presently inhabits, and in areas where it could return, will also assist wolves against human persecution. By removing illegal and as may of the excess public lands roads as possible, a great step will have been taken to prevent both poaching and the draconian hate-filled NR states toward the wolf.

    Because griz are still listed under ESA, some of the conflict-prevention methods – nonlethal – can be used with “depredating” wolves. I’ll not go into those here, but they are insufficiently used for griz as well.
    You see, winter habitat, the valleys that humans have taken over for their use, is a severe problem.

    Montana, up in the Flathead valley there, as well as everywhere else, is being continuously turned into exurban homes for the overpopulating humans.
    The inappropriate use of mountain valleys for cattle is another problem. Some tiny percentage of the cattle raised in the US (there are accurate stats, and I hope you’ll look them up! I just am occupied and cannot post these – something like less than 2 %) are raised in mountainous valley areas. Most are raised in great plains states, and should be limited to that environment.

    The pretension that sport hunting is some kind of right, when in reality it was merely an imitation by common people of the Euro-nobility arising when access to rail and guns, and rather warped minds like Teddy Roosevelt, a nearsighted person who could never have murdered an animal without spectacles, (he also believed strongly in the idea that the only good indian was a dead one, and you can check quotes to that effect), equated the only reason for preserving wild animals was for the “sport” of killing them.
    Legacy is no reason to kill.. Whether gay people or native species, it is clearly immoral, and must be attacked whenever it is used as rationale in any context.
    But to return. I have a history with certain bears, having had the pleasure of their presence and communications (mostly about being too close, although I never wanted to intrude or act aggressively toward them) ; as a group I desire their survival thriving, and enjoyment of their lives, and I hoe that all those who profess to love the wolf in an unconditional way (as I do) will extend their work and acceptance to both the griz and the black bear.

    Coalition, after all, is what humans are good at, and with inclusion of bears in our sphere of care, we will increase the survival and enjoyment of life that is the wolf’s birthright.

    In this way, we will heal and sustain the North American ecosystems that offer the surpassing values of environmental and personal health and connection – these other animals are our relatives in the long beauty of life and Earth, unendingly worthy of our love and respect.


  3. Reblogged this on Exposing the Big Game.


  4. Reblogged this on Coalition for American Wildbirds.


  5. Reblogged this on Sherlockian's Blog.


  6. […] Source: Montana Grizzly Bears Win Big In Court – Habitat Protected! […]


  7. Best news for today. Thank you.


  8. Reblogged this on tvassila.


  9. A group in Montana doing great work for bears and wolves.


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