The mission of the Grizzly Bear Recovery office is to implement the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan, coordinate research, management, and recovery efforts, and cooperate closely with Alberta and British Columbia on transboundary grizzly conservation efforts. We implement specific research and management actions to facilitate grizzly bear recovery. In addition, we assist in land management activities by offering guidance on what will and will not negatively affect grizzly bear populations and their habitat.
In 1975, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the grizzly bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the lower 48 States. The goal of the Endangered Species Act is to recover listed species to the point at which federal protection under the ESA is no longer needed. To accomplish this goal, the USFWS developed a grizzly bear recovery plan and hired Dr. Chris Servheen as the Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator. The first Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan was released in 1982. The latest recovery plan was published in 1993. In 1983, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) was formed. Members of this committee include representatives from the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Parks Canada, the states of Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming, and the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. The IGBC was created to coordinate management efforts and research actions across multiple Federal lands and States within the various Recovery Zones and change land management practices to more effectively provide security and maintain or improve habitat conditions for the grizzly bear.
While the historic range of grizzlies once covered over a third of what is now the continental United States, the Recovery Plan focuses on the six remaining areas in Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming that have habitat suitable for self sustaining grizzly populations. Only five are currently inhabited by grizzlies. All management actions are directed towards achieving the objectives of the grizzly bear recovery plan. In addition, we work with other countries and multiple cooperators to assist in the conservation of bear species worldwide.