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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Estimated Costs of Implementing
Draft Annual Funding Agreement at National Bison Range Complex
Significantly Lower Than Previously Reported

October 12, 2004

Matt Hogan, FWS, (202) 208-4545
Gwen Lankford, CSKT, (406) 675-2700, ext. 1119

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 AFAs. 

 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: 

Earlier 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, visitor services.  

The Service will maintain ownership of and management authority over all lands and buildings at the Bison Range.

 The 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.

 The 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. 

 The draft agreement, public comment for which is being taken until Tuesday, October 12, 2004, may currently be obtained on-line at: 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.  

 Comments may be submitted via e-mail at:, 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.


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Service Response to Inquiry by Senator Burns of Montana
 Cost Comparison Chart      


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