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Entries in Bison management (4)


Bison management plan meetings set

Dennis Bragg photo(BOZEMAN)- The latest effort to adjust plans for how wild bison are managed around Yellowstone National Park is being released, with interested ranchers, conservation groups and the general public being invited to view the details next week. 

The new draft plan is designed to replace the Interagency Bison Management Plan, which has been in place since 2011. Wildlife managers say the new plan is being written around the latest science and research, and what has been learned about the herd's migration in and out of the park the past several seasons. 

This plan, being developed by the National Park Service and the State of Montana uses six different alternatives that were outlined in recent public "scoping" efforts. 

The three meetings will give people a chance to review the initial work, with an open house where questions can be directed to NPS and FWP officials. 

The meetings will be held in Bozeman on June 2nd at the Hilton Garden Inn, June 3rd at the Gardiner School and June 4th at the Holiday Inn in West Yellowstone. 

The new plan could be finalized in 2017. 


State begins to analyze "year around" plan for bison outside YNP

(HELENA)- A pair of Montana agencies are ready to ask the public about what issues should be reviewed as the state analyzes the idea of allowing bison to grave year around outside Yellowstone National Park.

The question of allowing the bison to range outside the park has been a contentious one for several years, especially with ranchers who worry about the animals carrying disease and impacting surrounding rangelands.

Now, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Montana Department of Livestock say they’re ready to start a “scoping” process that may eventually lead to a formal plan for managing the bison outside the park.

Today the two agencies announced they’ve scheduled a pair of meetings in mid-August to take public comments. Under the scoping process, the agencies will be collecting input to help narrow down issues and concerns that should be addressed in a formal environmental assessment. That assessment would be have to be complete, and open for additional public comment before any decisions are made on the grazing plan.

The two evening meetings are scheduled for August 20th in West Yellowstone and August 21st in Gardiner.

FWP also held recent meetings across the state about the idea of allowing bison to wander across their historic range along with the other wildlife across Montana. But that work remains in the very early stages. 


Judge blocks further bison moves to Fort Peck

(HELENA)- Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is being ordered to stop the relocation of any more bison to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, at least until the courts can review the full legal terms of the state's bison relocation plan.

KXLH reports District Court Judge John McKeon issued the injunction on Thursday. 

FWP had been sued by ranchers and other groups after it moved more than 60-bison from a location just outside Yellowstone National Park to the reservation several weeks ago. Opponents are worried about the impact from the free-roaming bison on their cattle herds and complain the state's plan isn't legal. 

The injunction also bars the state from transferring any bison between Fort Peck and the Fort Belknap Reservation, which has also been targeted for bison releases under the FWP plan. 


Schweitzer, feds explore National Bison Range as site for Yellowstone bison

Schweitzer, on right with back to camera, discusses range operations with others at corrals Tuesday afternoon(MOIESE)- Governor Brian Schweitzer and a delegation of federal officials toured the National Bison Range Tuesday, on an informal "fact finding" tour to see if the Lake County site could someday handle disease free bison from the Yellowstone region. 

Schweitzer and representatives of the Interior Department other wildlife managers quietly stopped at the century-old reserve as part of a tour this week of other bison operations across Montana.

Schweitzer told KPAX TV the trip was merely to explore the idea of whether the range, and other sites could handle more of the quarantined bison the state has controlled for the past half-dozen years. 

“Some have been moved to Fort Peck. Some were previously moved to the Turner Ranch. And so federal and state officials are looking about the possibility of moving them to the National Bison Range," Schweitzer explained during the tour. "No decisions have been made. From the Montana side they haven’t made a decision. From the federal government they haven’t made a decision. We’re just looking.”

The National Bison Range managers explained their procedures for managing the herd at the refuge, which ranges between 350 and 500 animals. They spoke of controlling any diseased animals, keeping them in good health, round-up procedures and relations with adjacent land owners and ranches.  

“They are very valuable animals," observed Schweitzer. "We want to make sure there are several places for them around the West where they can begin to grow their numbers. And someday these pure buffalo genetics will replace those that have had some introgression with the cattle genetics."

Schweitzer and the delegation also met with leaders of the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribe, which have a major interest in the bison and management of the refuge.