The National Park Service and the Fish & Wildlife Service recently announced a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and an accompanying 10(j) proposal under the Endangered Species Act on establishing a Nonessential Experimental Population of the Grizzly Bear in the North Cascades Ecosystem in the State of Washington.

The Environmental Impact Statement is a document produced by the Federal Government (in this instance) that outlines the impact of a proposed action it wants to take. In this case, the Federal Government may introduce Grizzly Bears into the North Cascades Ecosystem. The North Cascades Ecosystem is entirely contained within the State of Washington. The North Cascades Ecosystem is primarily in the north-central part of the State.

Under a "10(j)" proposal, "experimental populations" of an endangered species are to be reintroduced in a historic range of the animal under the Endangered Species Act. The Grizzly Bear, as a whole, has seen a rebound in their population, and the time to allow Western States to manage the Grizzly Bear under State-managed plans has long passed.

As an apex predator, the Grizzly Bear can adversely impact ecosystems if not appropriately managed by States. The Endangered Species Act has been used to retain species under listing for too long.

Congressman Fulcher and Western Caucus Members recently sent a letter to the Fish & Wildlife Service and National Park Service asking for an extension of the public comment period for the EIS and two in-person meetings concerning the proposal to introduce Grizzly Bears in the North Cascades Ecosystem. You can read the full letter here.