Senate EPW Committee Holds Hearing to Affirm State Management Authority

Last week, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee held a legislative hearing on S. 614, the Grizzly Bear State Management Act of 2019, which recognizes the monumental effort that states, federal agencies, private landowners, and others have invested to fully recover the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE).

Prior to the hearing, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter to the EPW Committee in strong support of S. 614. At the time of Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing in 1975, it was estimated there were as few as 136 grizzlies in the GYE. However, through dedicated funding from state and federal agencies, science-based management, and other conservation efforts, the grizzly bear has recovered to a level that is near, or at, the GYE’s carrying capacity with approximately 700 bears in the region. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the GYE Grizzly has recovered to a level that federal listing under the Endangered Species List is no longer necessary, and the primary management of the species should be returned to the states that have the expertise and resources to manage wildlife effectively.

Unfortunately, many ill-advised lawsuits have threatened the strategic partnership that has conserved and recovered the GYE grizzly. S. 614 would protect this partnership and reaffirm that states within the GYE are best positioned to manage recovered grizzly bear populations.

S. 614 awaits further action in the U.S. Senate.

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