After careful review, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service has determined that the expected costs for implementing
the draft Annual Funding Agreement (AFA) with The Confederated Salish
and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) at the National Bison Range Complex are
approximately $23,000 for the first year, and over 5 years could range
from a savings of approximately $17,000 to a five-year cost of
approximately $237,000, depending on the terms and conditions of future
Earlier in the process, the Regional
Director for FWS Region 6 stated that the estimated costs of
implementing the draft AFA over 5 years could be as high as $300,000 to
$500,000. As the process moved forward, the Service undertook a full
analysis of potential expenses and was able to more accurately determine
the cost associated with implementing the AFA. A full analysis and
explanation of the costs associated with the draft AFA is contained in
the Service's October 5, 2004 response to an inquiry by Senator Conrad
Burns (MT) and is available for review at the FWS/CSKT website:
this year, the FWS and CSKT negotiated a draft AFA 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 the following
categories: biological program; fire program; maintenance program; and,
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.
draft 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 requesting tribe.
draft agreement, public comment for which is being taken until Tuesday,
October 12, 2004, may currently be obtained on-line at:
http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/cskt-fws-negotiation or by
contacting the Bison Range at: National Bison Range, 132 Bison Range
Road, Moeise, MT 59824; (406) 644-2211; or The Confederated Salish and
Kootenai Tribes, P.O. Box 278, Pablo, MT 59855; (406) 675-2700.
may be submitted via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or in
writing to the Bison Range at the above address.
Following 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.