[Federal Register: July 10, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 133)]
[Page 39713-39714]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Fish and Wildlife Service and Confederated Salish and Kootenai 
Tribes Sign Annual Funding Agreement

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: On June 19, 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the 
Service) and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) 
(collectively the Parties) signed an annual funding agreement (AFA) 
under the Tribal Self-Governance Act of 1994. The Tribal Self-
Governance Act provides for the Secretary of the Interior (the 
Secretary) to negotiate and enter into an AFA with a tribe 
participating in Self-Governance, authorizing the tribe to plan, 
conduct, consolidate, and administer programs, services, functions, and 
activities, or portions thereof (Activities), administered by the 
Secretary, which are of special geographic, historical, or cultural 
significance to that tribe. This includes such Activities within the 
National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS).
    Under the AFA, the CSKT will function in partnership with the 
Service and will be directly involved with our management mission at 
the National Bison Range Complex (NBRC). CSKT will perform a variety of 
Activities at the NBRC, including operational responsibility for 
mission-critical Activities such as the biology, maintenance, visitor 
services, and fire programs. The NBRC will remain a unit

[[Page 39714]]

of the NWRS and will continue to be administered and managed by the 
Service in accordance with the NWRS Administration Act (16 U.S.C. 
668dd-ee, as amended), and all other applicable Federal laws, 
regulations, and policies.
    On June 19, 2008, the AFA was signed by the Tribal Chairman and the 
Director of the Service, and endorsed by the following senior 
Department of the Interior management officials: The Secretary of the 
Interior, Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Assistant Secretary for 
Fish and Wildlife and Parks, and Acting Director, Office of Economic 
Development, on behalf of the Office of the Acting Assistant 
Secretary--Indian Affairs. Copies of the AFA have been forwarded to the 
U.S. Congress for a 90-day review period, pursuant to the implementing 
regulations at 25 CFR 1000.177-178.

DATES: The AFA term is October 1, 2008, through September 30, 2011. The 
Parties may agree in writing to extend the term for performing any 
Activity covered by the AFA, as provided at 25 CFR 1000.146, and 
subject to applicable Federal laws and regulations. All of the terms 
and conditions of the AFA will apply during any extension. The Parties 
may modify the Activities covered by the AFA or the consideration paid 
by the Service to the CSKT for performing an Activity only by amendment 
as provided in Section 21.A of the AFA.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain a copy of the AFA and Attachments A-D at any 
of the following Internet or U.S. mail addresses:
    1. Internet--http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/cskt-fws-negotiation.
    2. Montana--National Bison Range Headquarters, 132 Bison Range 
Road, Moiese, Montana 59824.
    3. Denver--U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Office, National 
Wildlife Refuge System--Mountain-Prairie Region, P.O. Box 25486, DFC, 
Denver, Colorado 80225.
    4. Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, P.O. Box 278, Pablo, 
Montana 59855.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dean Rundle, Refuge Supervisor, at 
(303) 236-4306.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: What is the NBRC? Located in northwestern 
Montana, the NBRC is part of the NWRS and consists of the National 
Bison Range, the Pablo and Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuges, and that 
portion of the Northwest Montana Wetland Management District that lies 
in Lake County. Established in 1908 to conserve the American Bison, the 
NBRC provides important habitat for a variety of species such as elk, 
pronghorn antelope, and migratory birds.
    How Was the AFA Developed? The Service and the CKST negotiated in 
accordance with 25 CFR part 1000.
    What Events Led to this AFA? In January 2008, at the request of 
Department of the Interior and Service leadership, representatives of 
the Parties entered into a facilitated process to create a framework 
for negotiating an AFA pursuant to the Indian Self-Determination and 
Education Assistance Act (Pub. L. 93-638). The overarching goal of this 
process and the subsequent negotiations was to build trust and ensure a 
solid understanding of both Parties' interests and intentions with 
regard to the long-term conservation and stewardship of the NBRC.
    Throughout the period of January-June 2008, the parties engaged in 
government-to-government negotiations, led by professional, field-level 
staff, to draft the AFA in a manner that balanced the intent and 
function of the Self-Governance Act and the NWRS Administration Act, as 
well as other applicable Federal laws, regulations, and policies. 
Following the conclusion of negotiations in June 2008, the Service and 
the Department of the Interior conducted an extensive legal and policy 
review of the AFA to ensure it met all applicable requirements before 
signing the AFA on behalf of the United States.
    What is the Tribal Self-Governance Act of 1994? The Tribal Self-
Governance Act (codified at 25 U.S.C. 458aa-458hh) was enacted as an 
amendment to Public Law 93-638 (codified as the Indian Self-
Determination Act, 25 U.S.C. 450-450n) and incorporated as Title IV of 
that Law. The Tribal Self-Governance Act allows qualifying tribes the 
opportunity to request AFAs with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and 
non-BIA bureaus within the Department of the Interior. When dealing 
with non-BIA bureaus, including the Service, qualifying tribes may 
enter into AFAs that allow them to conduct certain activities of such 
non-BIA bureaus. Eligible activities include Indian programs (programs 
created for the benefit of Native Americans because of their status as 
Native Americans); activities otherwise available to Native American 
tribes (any activity that a Federal agency might otherwise contract to 
outside entities); and activities that have a special geographic, 
historical, or cultural significance to the Indian tribe requesting a 
compact. Public Law 93-638 and the implementing regulation at 25 CFR 
1000.129 prohibit the inclusion of Activities in an AFA that are 
inherently Federal functions. The NBRC has no special Tribal programs. 
All activities conducted by the Service on national wildlife refuges 
are for the benefit of the fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, 
and the American public. Activities that may have a special 
relationship with a tribe are the most promising for inclusion in an 
AFA. Whether to enter into an AFA with a tribe for these activities is 
discretionary on the part of the Service. The Service recognizes that 
the CSKT has a cultural, historical, and/or geographical connection to 
the lands and resources of the NBRC. The proposed AFA provides for the 
CSKT to perform certain Activities for the NBRC during a 3-year period.

What Happens Now?

    As noted above, the AFA has been signed by the Director of the 
Service, and endorsed by senior Department of the Interior management. 
In accordance with 25 CFR 1000.177, the Assistant Secretary for Fish 
and Wildlife and Parks has forwarded copies of the AFA to the Senate 
Committee on Indian Affairs and the House Subcommittee on Native 
American and Insular Affairs, as well as other Congressional committees 
with jurisdictions related to the NWRS and the Service. If there are no 
objections to the AFA, the agreement will take effect 90 days after 
submission to Congress.

    Dated: June 27, 2008.
Lyle Laverty,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
 [FR Doc. E8-15685 Filed 7-9-08; 8:45 am]