Helena, MT — The Governor’s Grizzly Bear Advisory Council is convening for its first meeting next month in Helena.
The council will gather Oct. 3-4 at the Kleffner Ranch, 305 Montana Highway 518, in East Helena. The meeting is open to the public.
The inaugural meeting will cover the objectives and structure of the council and set the stage for the group’s work over the next year. The meeting will feature presentations on grizzly bear biology and ecology, management, and legal specifications, as well as facilitated discussions on key issues and challenges. There will be an open forum for public comment on both days.
Shawn Johnson and Heather Stokes from the University of Montana’s Center for Natural Resources & Environmental Policy program will facilitate the meetings. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff will assist throughout the council’s tenure with a technical support team.
In March, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock announced his intention to appoint a citizen advisory council to facilitate a statewide discussion on long-term grizzly bear management and conservation. Bullock solicited applications for council membership beginning in April, seeking individuals with a diversity of views and commitment to working together on the future of grizzly bears in Montana. More than 150 people from across the state applied. Bullock worked in consultation with FWP before making his final selections.
Bullock announced the appointment of 18 Montana citizens to the new council in July. Bullock appointed the council to reflect the diverse group of people who have a connection to grizzly bears, including those who live, work, and recreate in bear country. The council is intentionally representative of the different parts of the state where grizzlies are currently or may soon be found.
Over the next year, the advisory council’s work will center around broad objectives including:
- Maintaining and enhancing human safety;
- Ensuring a healthy and sustainable grizzly bear population;
- Improving timely and effective response to conflicts involving grizzly bears;
- Engaging all partners in grizzly-related outreach and conflict prevention; and
- Improving intergovernmental, interagency, and tribal coordination.
For more information about the council, including an agenda for the upcoming meeting and a list of council members, visit http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/management/grizzlyBear/gbac.html.