Gov. Steve Bullock today announced that he has appointed 18 Montana citizens to the Grizzly Bear Advisory Council to facilitate a statewide discussion on long-term grizzly bear management and conservation. Bullock also issued an executive order to guide the council’s deliberations.
The council represents a broad group of interests, Bullock claimed. But it does not have an actual grizzly bear biologist on the panel, but there are seven members that are livestock producers or tied to livestock.
Bears traveling east have caused concern among ranchers, as they eat livestock and can ruin crops.
“I’m grateful for the incredibly strong interest from Montanans across the state who offered to serve on this council, speaking both to the timeliness of this discussion and the passion for grizzly bears that Montanans share,” Bullock said. “I look forward to this diverse council working together to find balanced ways to conserve bears and meet the needs of Montanans and our state.”
Bullock solicited applications for council membership beginning in April. More than 150 people from across the state applied for a spot. Bullock worked in consultation with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks before making his final selections, the press release noted.
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, Bullock claimed.
The council will work on key points, Bullock said, 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.
Grizzlies in Montana are currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, the populations are growing and expanding, particularly east of the divide.
Council membership includes:
Bret Barney, Wyola. Qualification: Livestock producer. Barney is the Range Detective and Wildlife Manager for Sunlight Ranch Company.
Chad Bauer, Missoula. Qualification: Outdoor industry professional. Bauer is Municipal Market Manager for Republic Services.
Darrin Boss, Havre. Qualification: Hunter. Boss is the Department Head for the Department of Research Centers for Montana State University.
Jonathan Bowler, Condon. Qualification: Conservation group. Bowler is the Education Director for the Swan Valley Connections.
Trina Jo Bradley, Valier. Qualification: Livestock producer. Bradley is a Rancher in Pondera County.
Caroline Byrd, Bozeman. Qualification: Conservation group. Byrd is the Executive Director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.
Michele Dieterich, Hamilton. Qualification: Wildlife enthusiast. Dieterich is a Teacher.
Erin Edge, Missoula. Qualification: Conservation group. Edge is a Representative for the Rockies and Plains Program for the Defenders of Wildlife.
Nick Gevock, Helena. Qualification: Conservation organization. Gevock is the Conservation Director for the Montana Wildlife Federation.
Lorents Grosfield, Big Timber. Qualification: Livestock producer. Grosfield is an Owner/Operator of a Family Cattle Ranch in Sweet Grass County.
Kameron Kelsey, Gallatin Gateway. Qualification: Livestock producer. Kelsey is a rancher in Gallatin County.
Robyn King, Troy. Qualification: Conservation group. King is the Executive Director of the Yaak Valley Forest Council.
Kristen Lime, Browning. Qualification: Tribal member. Lime is a Rancher and Pre-College Advisor for Montana Educational Talen Search.
Cole Mannix, Helena. Qualification: Conservation organization. Mannix is the Associate Director of Western Landowners Alliance and is a Rancher in Lewis and Clark County.
Heath Martinell, Dell. Qualification: Livestock producer. Martinell is Rancher in Beaverhead County.
Chuck Roady, Columbia Falls. Qualification: Community leader. Roady is the Vice President and General Manager for F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Company.
Gregory Schock, Saint Ignatius. Qualification: Livestock producer. Schock is the Owner of Schock’s Mission View Dairy.
Anne Schuschke, East Glacier. Qualification: Outdoor industry professional. Schuschke is a Substitute Teacher and Expedition Leader for Natural Habitat Adventures.