After settling a lawsuit challenging the adequacy of the GBRP,
In addition to population and habitat-based criteria, the GBRP
the GBRP and remain in effect after removal of ESA-protections from the
criteria contained in the GBRP. (143) The requirements included 1) a
criteria contained in the GBRP. (147) The strategy aimed to preserve
protections and the implementation of the GBRP, (157) the FWS determined
The GBRP notes that linkage zones are not essential for delisting at this time,(204) yet FWS has not completed the scientific research designed to discover the importance and to determine future management activities regarding linkage zones--a seemingly arbitrary finding.
The GBRP's conclusions regarding linkage zones have led to a situation in which suitable habitat in linkage corridors may disappear before FWS can assess whether linkage corridors are in fact necessary for grizzly bear recovery.(205) FWS should at least wait to assess the findings of the scientific research on linkage zones before concluding that linkage zones are not essential.
FWS ran into trouble when it designated questionable recovery and monitoring criteria in the GBRP,(206) especially when plans to delist the Yellowstone population segment became known to the general public.(208) Environmental groups and some bear biologists criticized the recovery plan because of its lack of site-specific management actions and objective, measurable monitoring criteria, which are both required in recovery plans under the ESA.(209) Specifically, these groups argued that the recovery criteria did not address habitat protection, which they argued was the main cause of the bear's decline and the most critical factor in assuring the bear's future survival.(210)
In 1995, criticism of the current GBRP culminated in a lawsuit brought in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia by the Fund for Animals, the National Audubon Society, and other environmental groups.(214) The court's decision in Fund for Animals v.
The court first upheld the validity of the GBRP's site-specific management actions.
The court then analyzed the GBRP and found that recommended management actions were largely the same for each recovery zone because FWS based most of the actions on common biological principles that apply to grizzly bear management.(218) The court noted that the GBRP does recommend different actions where the ecosystems actually differ.(219)