Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program:
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources


Predictive Modeling for Grizzly Bears in the Bitterroot Ecosystem

January 2023 - January 2030


Participating Agencies

Grizzly bears were extirpated across 98% of their former range in the contiguous US in recent centuries, including in the Bitterroot region of east-central Idaho and western Montana. The reestablishment of a population in the Bitterroot would contribute to the long-term persistence of grizzly bears in the contiguous US. In 2000, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) published a record of decision and final rule with a planned reintroduction for the Bitterroot, yet a reintroduction was never undertaken. Since the mid-2010s, numerous observations of grizzly bears have been documented in the region. We are working closely with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Forest Service, and other collaborators to understand planning needs. To assist with recovery planning, we are using movement models and simulations to develop predictions of how grizzly bears will use habitat in this area. Our results will directly inform conservation of this species in their former range.