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National Bison Range to retain federal management

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The National Bison range in Moiese. (MTN News photo) The National Bison range in Moiese. (MTN News photo)
WASHINGTON, DC -

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe won't be taking over management of the National Bison Range after all.

Following a review of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal for management of the National Bison Range, the Department of the Interior has decided it will continue under federal ownership.

“I took a hard look at the current proposal suggesting a new direction for the National Bison Range and assessed what this would mean for Montana and the nation,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “As Secretary, my job is to look 100 years forward at all of Interior's resources. I recognize the Bison Range is a critical part of our past, present and future, which is why I have changed course.”

The federal government will resume its review of future management actions at the range by publishing a revised notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP).

The Department of the Interior states in a news release that the agency "is committed to evaluating a range of options that include opportunities for the CSKT to take part in the future management."

The tribes will be invited to be a cooperating agency in the development of the CCP. The Department of Interior further states that "in addition to their wildlife conservation experience and expertise, members of the CSKT have a cultural, historical, and geographic connection to these lands."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is opening a 30-day public comment period. Written comments must be received on or fore June 19, 2017. The public may submit comments in two ways: email: scoping@NBR@fws.gov  Mail or hand delivery: Toni Griffin, Refuge Planner, NBR CCP, 134 Union Boulevard, Lakewood, CO 80228.

RELATED: Zinke reverses on National Bison Range management

RELATED: Possible National Bison Range management change still in the works

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