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Department of Interior releases bison plan

By Adriana Fehrs

The Department of the Interior released a Bison Report: looking forward. The DOI explains that they will be collaborating and consulting with tribes in the initial planning, proposed development, and implementation stages for bison management. (courtesy photo) The Department of the Interior released a Bison Report: looking forward. The DOI explains that they will be collaborating and consulting with tribes in the initial planning, proposed development, and implementation stages for bison management. (courtesy photo)

FORT COLLINS, CO — The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) released a ‘Bison Report: Looking Forward’. Which outlines a collaborative management plan for American bison.

The DOI states, “While bison are no longer threatened by extinction, substantial work remains to more fully restore the species to its ecological and cultural role on appropriate landscapes. Looking forward from this overview report, DOI proposes that innovative collaboration amongst tribes, states, landowners, conservation groups, commercial bison producers, agricultural interests and others interested in bison, will be crucial to build partnerships amidst larger landscapes suitable for ranging bison, while concurrently generating and maintaining sustainable local and regional economies and communities.”

Currently, the DOI lands currently supports 17 bison herds in 12 states, totaling approximately 10,000 bison across 4,600,000 acres – both the National Bison Range and Yellowstone National Park are supported by the DOI.

Brucellosis quarantine is also an important factor in the future management of bison herds. The Interagency Bison Management Plan for the State of Montana and Yellowstone National Park (IBMP) considered the concept of a brucellosis quarantine program as a supplemental population management tool that could allow bison to be relocated from the GYA to other public and tribal lands. (Courtesy photo) Brucellosis quarantine is also an important factor in the future management of bison herds. The Interagency Bison Management Plan for the State of Montana and Yellowstone National Park (IBMP) considered the concept of a brucellosis quarantine program as a supplemental population management tool that could allow bison to be relocated from the GYA to other public and tribal lands. (Courtesy photo)

As stated in the report, the DOI works closely with federal agencies, tribal entities, and federal, state, and local governments. “In order to prepare a statewide bison management plan, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has moved forward with the development of a programmatic planning effort to address the potential for bison restoration in Montana.”

In Montana, a formal bison restoration plan is underway, which is being led by the State of Montana, and may include the DOI.

The DOI explains that they will be collaborating and consulting with tribes in the initial planning, proposed development, and implementation stages. Montana FWP is working closely with CSKT on an annual funding agreement (AFA), “that will allow the tribe to administer non-inherently federal activities at the National Bison Range.”

Brucellosis quarantine is also an important factor in the future management of bison herds. The Interagency Bison Management Plan for the State of Montana and Yellowstone National Park (IBMP) considered the concept of a brucellosis quarantine program as a supplemental population management tool that could allow bison to be relocated from the GYA to other public and tribal lands. They found that there is a potential twenty units that may be suitable for quarantined bison – one including the National Bison Range.

The DOI states that there is significant work left to restore the species to its ecological and cultural role on appropriate landscapes.

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