Thursday, March 13, 2008

Whatcom County supports Grizzly Bear recovery in the North Cascades

The Whatcom County Council passed the following resolution on March 11th, 2008. This resolution voices support for the implementation of the North Cascades Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan which was approved in 1997.

• Whatcom County’s wildlife and wild places are a core part of life in this beautiful county;

• The Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan encourages actions which “protect and enhance natural systems which provide economic, ecological, aesthetic, and cultural benefit (Goal 11H), and “protect and enhance natural systems that support…wildlife populations and habitat” (Goal 11J);

• There are many ecological, economic, and spiritual benefits to conserving and recovering grizzly bears and other native wildlife as an integral part of our county’s natural heritage, quality of life and identity;

• Chapter 2 of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan states that “maintaining healthy fish and wildlife populations is a vital goal in maintaining the quality of life in Whatcom County”;

• Grizzly bears are an “umbrella species” the conservation of which will benefit dozens of other plants and animals;

• The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates that over $1.7 billion is spent annually in the US on wildlife watching activities, supporting more than 21,000 jobs;

• The people of Whatcom County take great pride in their county’s internationally significant wildlife legacy;

• The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has identified the North Cascades as one of only six grizzly bear recovery zones in the lower 48 states and the only grizzly bear recovery zone outside of the Rocky Mountains;

• The US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates there are less than 20 bears left in the North Cascades - a number too low to be self-sustaining;

• The federal government is mandated under the Endangered Species Act to protect and recover endangered wildlife populations;

• The federal North Cascades Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan has been in place for a decade but has not been fully implemented;

• The State of Washington and other public and private entities have appropriated funds for a public process under federal law to implement recovery planning.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Whatcom County Council urges the United States Congress to appropriate necessary funding through the 2009 federal appropriations process and urges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to immediately implement the North Cascades Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan including all necessary actions identified by their biologists to recover this highly endangered grizzly bear population.

Everyone at GBOP would like to sincerely thank each member of the Whatcom County Council in supporting North Cascade Grizzly Bear recovery and their leadership role in setting an example for others to follow.