Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team
The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) is an interdisciplinary group of scientists and biologists responsible for long-term monitoring and research efforts on grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). The main objectives of the team are to:
- Monitor the status and trend of the grizzly bear population in the GYE.
- Determine patterns of habitat use by bears and the relationship of land management activities to the welfare of the bear population.
The history behind the development of the IGBST, as well as that of the Yellowstone grizzly bear, is dynamic. The team was formed by the Department of the Interior (DOI) in 1973 as a direct result of controversy surrounding the closure of open pit garbage dumps within Yellowstone National Park during 1968-72. For decades, large numbers of grizzly bears fed at these dumps and after the closure of this food source, the rate of grizzly bear deaths increased. Concerns for the population’s future led to grizzlies being listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1975.
IGBST members are representatives from the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribal Fish and Game Department, and the States of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. This interagency approach ensures consistency in data collection and allows for combining limited resources to address information needs throughout the GYE. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) does not have a sitting member on the study team. However, a BLM representative is a voting member of the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of IGBC.
The IGBST is a different entity than the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC). The IGBC was created in 1983 to lead the effort to recover the grizzly bear in the lower 48 states. IGBST conducts research that provides information needed by various agencies for immediate and long-term management of grizzly bears inhabiting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Frank T. van Manen, Team Leader