Fish and Wildlife Service and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai
Tribes will hold two public meetings in Montana on the draft Annual
Funding Agreement for the National Bison Range Complex. The meetings
will be held at the Polson High School Auditorium, 111 East 4th
Avenue, Polson, on September 8, 2004, and at Ruby’s Reserve Street Inn
(Five Valleys Conference Center), 4825 North Reserve Street, Missoula,
on September 9, 2004. Both meetings will begin at 6:00 pm and end at
10:00 pm local time.
meetings are aimed at providing information about the draft AFA and will
consist of brief opening presentations by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service and The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, a facilitated
question and answer period during which the public may ask questions
about the draft AFA, and “break-out” sessions during which the public
can circulate among several stations staffed by Service and Tribal
representatives and ask additional questions about the draft AFA.
meetings are not intended as public forums for comments on the draft AFA.
Comments on the draft AFA must be submitted in writing to National Bison
Range, 132 Bison Range Road, Moeise, MT 59824; or via the Internet at:
firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submission of
public comments is Tuesday, October 12, 2004. Written comments may also
be submitted to the Service at the upcoming public meetings. Any oral
comments offered at the meetings will not be included as part of the
public comment record.
Service and the Tribes will also hold an open house at the National
Bison Range on Wednesday, September 22, 2004. The public is invited to
visit the Range, meet with Service and Tribal representatives, and learn
more about the draft AFA. National Bison Range Project Leader Steve
Kallin will host the open house, which will be held during regular
refuge business hours, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Service and the Tribes have negotiated a Draft Annual Funding Agreement
for the National Bison Range Complex in Moeise, Montana. Per the draft
agreement, the CSKT would perform some of the Service’s activities at
the Bison Range during Fiscal Year 2005. These activities include
portions of the biological, fire, maintenance, and visitor services
Service will maintain ownership of and management authority over all
lands and buildings at the Bison Range.
National Bison Range Complex, part of the National Wildlife Refuge
System, consists of the National Bison Range, Swan Lake, Lost Trail,
Pablo and Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuges, and the Northwest Montana
Wetland Management District. Established in 1908 to conserve the
American Bison, the Bison Range and ancillary properties provide
important habitat for a variety of species such as elk, pronghorn
antelope and migratory birds. The draft agreement applies only to those
units that lie within the boundaries of the Flathead Reservation: The
National Bison Range; Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge; Pablo National
Wildlife Refuge; and, waterfowl production areas within the Reservation.
agreement was negotiated pursuant to the Indian Self-Determination and
Education Assistance Act. Under the Act, qualified Indian Tribes may
request to perform activities administered by the Department of Interior
which are of geographic, historic or cultural significance to the
the public comment period and any subsequent revisions to the draft
agreement, the final agreement will be signed by the Service and the
CSKT, after which the agreement will be submitted to the U.S. Congress
for a 90-day review period before it is implemented.
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are comprised of the Bitterroot
Salish, the Pend d’Oreille, and the Kootenai Tribes. The Tribes occupy
the 1.3 million acre Flathead Reservation in northwestern Montana.
Prior to current negotiations regarding the National Bison Range
Complex, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have assumed
management of many activities previously provided by the Federal
government on the Flathead Reservation. The activities include Tribal
Health and Human Services; the Tribal Wildlife Management Program, and
Mission Valley Power.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal
Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish,
wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the