On Jan. 18, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published its notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan for the National Bison Range in Moiese, accompanied by an environmental impact statement (EIS).
In its notice, the federal agency states that the EIS will look at different management models for the Bison Range, including the FWS’ preferred option of congressional legislation that would restore the National Bison Range to federal trust ownership for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes with requirements of continued bison and wildlife conservation, as well as public access.
The Tribes welcome this step, according to CSKT Communications Director Rob McDonald, and are pleased that the FWS has selected restoration of the Bison Range, and subsequent Tribal management of the bison and other natural resources, as its preferred choice in this evaluation of management alternatives.
“We look forward to cooperating with the Service in its preparation of a comprehensive conservation plan, including evaluation of Bison Range restoration,” said Tribal Chairman Vernon S. Finley. “We have received a great deal of positive feedback from the public on our draft legislation to restore the National Bison Range to federal trust ownership for the Tribes. The Tribes look forward to the day when we can extend our record of natural resources management to the Bison Range, including its bison that descend from the herd managed by Tribal members a century ago.”
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