Bear Trust International was honored to help with the initial formation of the East Texas Black Bear Task Force. The East Texas Black Bear Task Force (ETBBTF) is an official sub-committee of the Black Bear Conservation Committee (BBCC). The BBCC is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization established in 1990 that works “…to promote the restoration of the Louisiana Black Bear in its historic range through education, research, and habitat management.” The ETBBTF meets three times annually to promote the implementation of the East Texas Black Bear Conservation and Management Plan.
The ETBBTF was loosely formed in early 2001 to formally work within the BBCC framework to inform and educate Texans about Black Bears. Since 2005, the ETBBTF has focused on priority goals and objectives of the 2005 East Texas Black Bear Conservation & Management Plan. The ETBBTF carries on the mission of the BBCC through promoting the restoration of the Louisiana Black Bear in its historic range (east Texas) through education, research, and habitat management.
A habitat model and GIS coverage, useful for interpreting sightings and spatial arrangements of bear habitat, were recently completed. Focus on the south and north zones of Texas are evident; the maps accentuated the priority of the ETBBTF to focus habitat and research efforts in these two large areas of east Texas. The habitat working group is working on the following objectives: 1) delineate bear occurrence in the northeast Texas focus area; 2) initiate landowner incentive program to restore and enhance forest habitat through a BBCC- US Fish & Wildlife Service agreement; 3) develop a southeast Texas focus area research proposal; 4) review the impacts and potential involvement of the BBCC & ETBBTF in the recently initiated Toledo Bend Reservoir Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permit review and authorization process; 5) consider a proposal by US Fish & Wildlife Service to fund a West Gulf Coastal Plain (Bird Conservation Region 25) joint venture coordinator that could increase awareness, grant opportunity and other funding mechanisms for east Texas wildlife conservation, management, monitoring and habitat restoration.
The education working group is working on the following objectives: 1) increase public awareness, 2) complete and distribute media kit, and, 3) expand the recognition on the BBCC website.
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