**April 28th, 2017 was the final day to respond to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement concerning the appropriateness of helicoptering grizzly bears into the North Cascades. The issue of Grizzly Bear Introduction to our area is pending as we await the decision after review of public comment by the NPS. The following is part of the work Stehekin Heritage compiled and gathered during the comment period.
The following are the action items Stehekin Heritage felt important to consider when rewriting the DEIS:
*First, we are asking people to support “Alternative A” the “No Action” alternative of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) . Please write letters before the deadline of March 14, 2017.
–A. Action Item: A final determination on the Grizzly EIS should not occur until the DEIS includes:
- A map that plots, to the greatest degree of accuracy possible, the location of bear sightings confirmed in the Sullivan Report included in the body of the DEIS.
- A map showing the locations of the three trading posts (Thompson, Colville, Walla Walla) in relation to the North Cascades is needed to be included in a DEIS revision and made available to those reviewing the Grizzly DEIS.
–B.1 The grizzly DEIS cannot not be finalized until ungulate (deer, elk, moose, caribou, mountain goat, bighorn sheep) population estimates throughout the North Cascade Ecosystem (NCE) are mapped and used to inform the DEIS narrative concerning the effects of grizzlies on ungulate populations.
–B.2 Action Item: Because it is the duty of NEPA to make the potential effects of an alternative clear, the grizzly DEIS must be required to actually make that evaluation and provide it to the public for review before the DEIS is finalized.
–C. Action Item: Maps must be created showing the territory requirements necessary to accommodate 200+ grizzlies. The DEIS estimates female grizzly habitats include at least a ten-mile radius. How many square miles of territory does a female grizzly require?(Area of a circle equals pi times radius squared – 3.14 times 10 X 10 = 100 X 3.14 = 314 miles habitat territory required for a female grizzly. Male grizzlies require a larger territory.)
It’s understood that individual grizzly bear territory will overlap, however, they will not overlap completely. As with ungulates, grizzly distribution will not be uniform over the entire NCE.
–D. Action Item: The Grizzly DEIS must not be finalized until a survey of North Cascade visitors is developed that objectively evaluates visitor perceptions concerning the importation of grizzlies into the North Cascades Complex and recreational experiences.
–E. Action Item – The time line for citizen response should be extended significantly in order that respondents are able to review habitat data referenced in the DEIS.
–F. Action Item: The legislative history section of the DEIS must both include relevant legislative history references attesting to the fact that the enactment of PL 90-544 ensured that in the North Cascades Complex recreational values be given priority over all other uses.
–G. Action Item: The community of Stehekin must be represented on all DEIS maps and included with the twenty-six other gateway communities identified in the DEIS.
–H. Action Item Because it is the duty of NEPA to make the potential effects of an alternative clear, the grizzly DEIS must actually provide impact statements that are more than vague generalities of no impact upon wildlife and visitors.
–I. Action Item: Considering the weakness of the DEIS analysis, it is highly recommend that the decision makers review the contract provisions and require the contractor to prepare a new DEIS that meets basic NEPA standards.