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Press Release

Republicans Demand Information on Relocation and Reintroduction of Grizzly Bear

  • OI Subcommittee

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) led a letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Director Martha Williams and National Park Service (NPS) Director Charles Sams, seeking additional information regarding the translocation of grizzly bears in the state of Washington and how this issue impacts the Endangered Species Act writ large. In part, the members wrote:

"The Grizzly Bear Rule and subsequent, related Final EIS identify a 'preferred alternative' that requires the translocation of grizzly bear from their existing environment to an ecosystem in which there has not been a confirmed sighting of the species in three decades. As you are aware, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was enacted in 1973 to help protect and recover imperiled wildlife species from extinction. Grizzly bear populations in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) and the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) are biologically recovered and have exceeded their recovery goals. As a result, states have repeatedly petitioned for delisting the grizzly bear and shifting management of the species over to state management plans. According to NPS, 'scientists think the Yellowstone area population is recovered and may have reached its capacity for resident grizzlies in many areas of the ecosystem.' Despite this, the grizzly bear remains listed as threatened under the ESA. Meanwhile, NPS and the Service continue to pursue the unnecessary reintroduction of NEP grizzly bear populations in both the Bitterroot Ecosystem of Montana and Idaho, and the North Cascades Ecosystem of Washington, despite longstanding and strong opposition to the proposals from their respective nearby communities...

"The Committee is concerned that the reintroduction of a NEP grizzly bear population in the North Cascades ecosystem is being considered despite the strong opposition of the local and regional communities and stakeholders and without proper consideration for the listing status and management of species populations. The previous decision by DOI to stop the North Cascades Ecosystem Grizzly Bear Restoration Plan is being ignored by NPS and the Service. The Grizzly Bear Rule and related Final EIS are not necessary, and the public record has made it clear that the relocation of grizzly bears is not welcomed in Washington State by the residents and many stakeholders the action would impact. Rather, the Biden administration is once again bending to the agenda of ecoactivists who are largely located outside the region, ignoring input from local residents."

Read the full letter here.


For decades, residents of Northern Washington have opposed this unnecessary action due to the potential consequences for their communities, including danger to people, local wildlife, livestock and crops. As a result, the Trump administration declined to reintroduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades ecosystem.

Yet on April 25, 2024, USFWS and NPS announced a decision to actively reintroduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades of Washington. To date, no specific timeline for reintroduction has been released; however, the unpublished rule, set to be published on May 3, sets a target of capturing three to seven bears per year to establish an initial target population of 25 bears.