FWP working on long-term bison plan, holding meetings

2012-04-26T00:00:00Z FWP working on long-term bison plan, holding meetingsIndependent Record Helena Independent Record
April 26, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Helena will be home to one of eight Fish, Wildlife and Parks meetings on developing a long-term bison conservation and management plan for Montana.

The Helena meeting is from 6 to 9 p.m. on May 17 at the Montana Wild Center at 2668 Broadwater Ave.

The management plan, which is expected to take three years to complete, will be developed through a programmatic environmental impact statement. During that process, the EIS will examine a variety of issues and possible alternatives — including a “no action” alternative — and look at each alternative’s potential beneficial and adverse environmental, social and economic impacts.

The initial meetings, which also will be held in Missoula, Kalispell, Glasgow, Billings, Miles City, Great Falls and Bozeman in mid-May, are part of the formal public scoping process required under the Montana Environmental Policy Act. During the scoping process, FWP wants the public to help identify issues, impacts, public concerns and conservation challenges and opportunities. The comments will assist FWP in further identifying issues and developing possible alternatives.

Some issues already identified include:

  • the risk of bison spreading disease to domestic livestock;
  • competition between bison and other wildlife;
  • competition between bison and livestock for rangeland;
  • damage to fencing;
  • public safety;
  • the legal classification and status of bison in Montana.

Last year, in anticipation of the EIS proposal, FWP prepared a summary of bison

history and activities in the West that offers information related to the possible restoration of bison in Montana.

The “Bison Background Document” presents information on the bison’s genetic and disease history, management concerns and a brief synopsis of different bison management philosophies among an array of private groups and organizations. The document is available online at the FWP website.

The document may also be obtained on CD or other formats by calling Margaret Morelli at 994-6780 or via email at MMorelli@mt.gov.

The sessions will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., with the first hour dedicated to informal discussions and the remainder of the evening set for recording scoping comments.

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(4) Comments

  1. WalleyeHunter
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    WalleyeHunter - April 27, 2012 9:22 pm
    I hear they wanna put bison in the elkhorns for Gods sake
  2. GreatWhite
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    GreatWhite - April 26, 2012 9:17 pm
    steeline, good to know that. I'm never really sure what slice of the 'issues pie' is the largest! (Actually, somehow, it's almost always financial!! I just try to act dumb hoping someday it'll be different.)

    I know there were originally two for sure, possibly three subspecies of the american bison. I'll admit, I do not know which subspecies the Yellowstone herd is. I do keep making the fatal mistake of actually trying to toss aside the monetary and political aspects of issues concerning animals and just see them as equal to us from natures viewpoint.

    Oops! Me bad!

    I doubt we'll ever see them running wild again, not like they used to. They require a lot of range to graze and migrate around. But who know's what can be accomplished when we set our minds to it.
  3. steeline
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    steeline - April 26, 2012 6:33 pm
    The buffalo issue is not just about brucelosis. The buffalo issue is a money maker for those groups who mistakenly are trying to maintain a "pure strain" of the origanal American buffalo. The more controversy the more money is donated to these groups. Science tells us that as long as the buffalo, or any animal that are bred and inbred they will breed themselves to extinction. There has to be new blood introcudced into the heard at some point. The solution to the Yellowstone buffalo is to cull the herd to a manageable size. This can be done by harvest or transplant to other locations. There are plenty of places that people have and raise buffalo for money. The over supply of Yellowstone buffalo could be sold to Indian tribes and non-indian buffalo ranchers or harvested. The state could recoup some of the costs of managning the herd in Yellowstone. In any event what ever happens it should be cost effective to the state with no strings attached. We have to save America.
  4. GreatWhite
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    GreatWhite - April 26, 2012 10:18 am
    This may be a spark to a powder keg...but last time I checked, brucelosis only passed from bison to cattle in a lab setting. I have never heard of it actually passing, naturally, in the wild.

    If I'm wrong, don't get mad, just let me know. I know it has been shown to pass from Elk to cattle outside of a lab.

    It also seems to me that the bison was the natural prey of wolves before we settled the west. Not Elk, Deer or Bovine.

    But, the dark side, it is incredibly hard to confine these animals in/out with fences cause they just tend to ignore them, so that could be a problem I expect.

    Danger to people! Heck ya'!! But, if they weren't such a novelty, like in Yellowstone, maybe people would tend to leave them alone.

    People don't tend to mess much with Elk/Deer/Moose in the wild to much...just when they are in the Yellowstone "zoo". sorry, I meant Yellowstone Park.

    The range competition thing, with both wildlife and livestock!?!?! It's bound to become an issue at some point, with both, somehow. Unfortunately.

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