Statement on budget rider defunding North Cascades grizzly bear restoration
ConservationNWAdmin / Jun 20, 2018 / Grizzly Bears, Legislation, News Releases, Restoring Wildlife
This month, representative dan newhouse introduced an amendment to the U.S. House’s Fiscal Year 2019 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that would block funding for the public process being led by the national park service and u.s. Fish and wildlife service to restore grizzly bears in washington’s north Cascades.
In response to this budget rider, Conservation Northwest and the National Wildlife Federation issued the following statements:
“Grizzly bear recovery in the North Cascades has languished for 30 years, and now is not the time for further delay,” said Joe Scott, International Programs Director and grizzly bear specialist for Conservation Northwest. “Since 2014, the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have lead a fair and inclusive process planning for grizzly bear restoration, including substantial public engagement, numerous hearings in local communities, and more than 126,000 public comments, the vast majority of which support the process and its bear restoration objectives. We strongly object to Representative Dan Newhouse’s amendment to the House Interior Appropriations Bill removing funding for transplanting grizzly bears into the North Cascades to augment the endangered population in our region. Washingtonians have repeatedly voiced their support for restoring a small population of grizzly bears under the guidance of sound science and community input. We urge congressional leaders to listen to them, and ensure appropriations for this important conservation effort continue.”
“Grizzly bears are an iconic species of the West, an indicator of ecosystem health and human tolerance for wildlife, and a species that millions of Americans care about passionately,” said Tom France, Regional Executive Director of the National Wildlife Federation. “In the North Cascades, fewer than ten grizzly bears remain with no likelihood of natural recolonization. They need recovery action, and soon. Restoring a healthy population of grizzlies here presents a monumental opportunity for wildlife conservation. The National Wildlife Federation and its local affiliates urge congressional leaders to remove budget riders that would obstruct the public process to restore North Cascades grizzly bears. At nearly 10,000 square miles, the North Cascades are one of the largest contiguous areas of wild public land remaining in the lower 48 states, a place cherished for its rugged country, abundant wildlife and rich opportunities for hunting, fishing and enjoying our natural heritage. It’s a place big and wild enough for both people and grizzly bears to roam.”
Consistent with official public comments, multiple opinion polls have shown high levels of support across partisan and geographic lines, including from areas nearest to the North Cascades.
At public hearings, through online forums, in one-on-one meetings, and during official EIS public comment periods, Washingtonians, including many of Representative Newhouse’s constituents, have repeatedly voiced their support for restoring a small population of grizzly bears under the guidance of sound science and community input.