The ProcessThe Planning Process
In order to create a management plan that reflects the values and beliefs of Michigan citizens, it is essential that citizens have opportunities to participate throughout the planning process. The DNR is responsible for incorporating public input into the management plan. The management plan takes into account as many stakeholder views as possible with the understanding that there is conflict among some groups.
Steps within the planning process:
Under the 2007 Inland Consent Decree, we consulted with tribal governments on bear management at least once during each year. Information from these meetings was incorporated into the bear management plan. Tribes also had the opportunity to review draft plans as they were developed.
Issue Scoping Meetings
We held five meeting across the state to discuss three specific bear regulation issues (BMU size, standardization of statewide regulations, and quiet periods) and compile any other issues the public may have regarding bears. The meetings were held in the western Upper Peninsula, eastern Upper Peninsula, north-eastern Lower Peninsula, west-eastern Lower Peninsula, and southern Lower Peninsula.
Invited participants from regional stakeholder groups were asked to attend these meetings to discuss issues as well. Understanding of regional issues by the DNR and input at the local level is critical to the planning process.
Bear Management Consultation Team
The primary responsibilities of this team were to identify the important values to consider for bear management based on the information compiled at the regional meetings; formulate plan goals; and prioritize the management objectives received by the DNR bear working group. These were facilitated discussions. Previous public surveys have been conducted on social issues related to Michigan's black bears. The consultation team received all pertinent survey information to help with their decision making.
Wildlife Division Bear Working Group
The bear working group is a longstanding group within the Wildlife Division and was charged with developing guidelines to advance the management of black bear and their habitats in Michigan. The working group conducted a review of scientific literature relative to bear management throughout the nation and produced the necessary information documents that will assist the consultation team. The working group also assisted in writing the bear management plan.
Public Review Process
Once the bear management plan was in draft format, DNR conducted five Open Houses throughout the State (western Upper Peninsula, eastern Upper Peninsula, northeastern Lower Peninsula, northwestern Lower Peninsula and southern Lower Michigan). At this time, a brief presentation of the plan and discussion period occurred. The public also had the opportunity to provide comment on the DNR Web site.