Dillon Tabish of the Flathead Beacon reports that a draft management plan for delisted grizzly bears in western Montana has been released for public comment, signaling the latest step toward a possible milestone in wildlife conservation. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on May 3 published a proposed conservation strategy in the event the grizzly population in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) is removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act. The 148-page document, which was developed by state, federal and tribal wildlife managers and scientists to handle the region’s growing number of bears, is open to public comment until Aug. 1. The NCDE extends south from the Canadian border through the Flathead and Mission valleys to the Blackfoot River basin near Missoula and includes Glacier National Park. The new plan does not propose delisting grizzlies, which remain protected as a “threatened” species; rather it sets the stage for interagency management if the population is delisted in the future. Read the full article here. Click here to read the draft plan.