Chelan County Commissioner Kevin Overbay is expressing frustration over treatment from federal agencies on the reintroduction of grizzly bears to Washington. 

Commissioners say a final Environmental Impact Statement on the project last month did not consider local concerns about the bears. 


Overbay says he shared his displeasure with Congresswoman Kim Schrier's office. 

"It really slayed me that an executive branch cabinet could make decisions that impact people's lives without our representatives being able to weigh in (and) either stop the funding or stop the movement of this without more dialogue," said Overbay. 

Federal agencies are moving forward with a specific plan to reintroduce grizzly bears before a formal decision on the reintroduction is announced. 

Overbay admitted to fellow commissioners during a Monday morning public discussion that his complaint wouldn't have any bearing on the process.  "I've got very few arrows left in the quiver," Overbay said. 

There's been a lot of public resistance to the grizzly bear reintroduction. Chelan County commissioners have long opposed the idea. And 4th District Republican Congressman Dan Newhouse has been vocal in his displeasure with the plan.  

A final decision on the reintroduction by federal agencies is expected this month.  

Federal agencies - the U.S. Forest Service and Department of Fish and Wildlife - are moving forward with the reintroduction under the 10 (j) designation.  

The plan does allow for a local response if the bears infringe on private land. 

Congress added the 10 (j) designation to relieve landowner concerns that reintroductions may result in restrictions on the use of private, tribal, or public land.  

Under 10 (j), the grizzlies will be introduced as a nonessential experimental population with more flexible rules for managing bears.  

Landowners can continue to manage their lands without concern about violating the Endangered Species Act by inadvertently harming a species.  

Plans call for three to seven grizzly bears to be brought into the ecosystem annually over the next five to 10 years.    

It’s estimated there will eventually be approximately 200 grizzly bears within 60 to 100 years. 

LOOK: What black bears want, and how to deter them

Black bears are on the move in New Jersey and all 21 counties need to be ready. Here's a look at what might attract them to your property should one be sighted in your area.

Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

More From Kissin' 97.7