Montana Tribal FWCO
Mountain-Prairie Region
Graphic button showing the 8 state mountain prairie region

Montana Tribal Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office

4052 Bridger Canyon Road | Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: 406-585-9010 | Fax: 406-586-6798 Email:

About Montana Tribal FWCO

About the Branch of Tribal Technical Assistance

Map of Montana reservations served by the Montana Trible Wildlife Conservation Office. Credit: USFWS.

1) Flathead | 2) Blackfeet | 3) Rocky Boy | 4) Ft. Belknap | 5) Ft. Peck | 6) Rocky Boy | 7) Northern Cheyenne

We provide technical assistance to Tribal governments to help them to make informed decisions regarding Tribal fish and wildlife resources. We strive to assure that Tribal governments acquire and maintain the necessary expertise to professionally manage their valuable fish and wildlife resources.

The Tribal Fish and Wildlife Directors representing Montana and Wyoming Tribes formed the Montana/Wyoming Tribal Fish and Wildlife Commission on February 12, 1998. Our Station works closely with the MT/WY Tribal Fish and Wildlife Commission to address regional issues affecting reservation fish and wildlife resources.

The funding source for the Montana Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance Office's Branch of Tribal Assistance is specific to Native American fish and wildlife technical and educational assistance (FY 1990 Congressional Appropriation). Consequently, most of the activities of the office focus on the seven (7) Indian reservations in Montana. However, the office does provide limited fish and wildlife technical and management assistance to several National Wildlife Refuges in Montana, Malmstrom Air Force Base, and has entered into agreements to provide fisheries expertise to both Glacier National Park and the Bureau of Reclamation. In addition, this office has acted as the Service representative on Federal Negotiating Teams addressing water rights issues affecting five of the Indian reservations in Montana.

Station History »

Station History

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fishery Assistance Office was established November 1962 by order of President John F. Kennedy, in Kalispell, Montana. The station was established to provide fishery management services to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana. Three other Montana reservations and Glacier National Park were receiving fishery assistance from the Portland, Oregon Fisheries Assistance Office. The logistical need to consolidate these Montana operations was apparent.

In March of 1980, the Kalispell Fishery Assistance Office was combined with the Creston National Fish Hatchery to officially form the Creston Fish and Wildlife Center. However, this was changed again in 1989 when the assistance office and hatchery were separated, with Project Leaders being appointed for each office. In 1990, the management assistance office reorganized when funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs was terminated and funding appropriation supported by the Montana Congressional delegation was once again returned to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This transition, which provided a substantial increase in funding, enabled the management assistance office to reorganize and accommodate the growing demands for technical services. In July 1991, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the Montana Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance Office in Bozeman, Montana with sub-stations at Kalispell and Lewistown, Montana. This reorganization was done primarily to expedite the biological services provided to all Montana Indian Reservations and other Federal, State, and Service programs as requested.

The Native American Training and Education Center was established in conjunction with the Bozeman facility, to assist Native Americans from across the country in furthering their education and field training in several areas, including fish and wildlife management, law enforcement, endangered species, and other natural resource fields. This program has been well received by various Tribal governments and colleges along with other federal and state agencies.

During 1994, the MT FWMAO was expanded to include an Assistant Project Leader. In 1995, the Kalispell and Lewistown sub-stations were consolidated in Lewistown. This move was necessary to more centrally locate our technical assistance staff closer to the six (6) central and eastern Montana Indian reservations which receive most of our attention. During 1996, the MT FWMAO was further expanded to include a native fish function. The office was reorganized into two distinct branches; 1) the Branch of Tribal Assistance (including the historic activities of the office); and 2) the Branch of Native Fish. The new Branch of Native Fish Management was the product of the closure of the Fishery Assistance Office in Yellowstone National Park.

Wildlife Program »

Wildlife Program

The Wildlife program officially began in 1986 based upon technical assistance needs voiced by Montana Tribes to conserve and enhance tribal wildlife resources. Wildlife populations are monitored via fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, and ground surveys, habitat is evaluated, research studies are conducted, and wildlife management activities conducted in an effort to help Montana Tribes define and reach their wildlife management goals.

This program has provided technical assistance to the Tribes for the development of wildlife codes, big game management plans, hunting and trapping regulations, commercial hunting programs, threatened and endangered species management initiatives, and other projects contributing to the overall conservation and full utilization of tribal wildlife resources.

Fisheries Program »

Fisheries Program

The Fisheries program provides a diversity of services which include maintenance and enhancement of recreational fisheries, conservation and protection of endangered and threatened fish species, and analysis and enhancement of aquatic and related terrestrial habitats.

Native American Cooperative Education and Training Program »

Native American Cooperative Education and Training Program

The educational and training program is housed within the Native American Training and Education Center (NATEC).

There are two aspects to NATEC. First, the program provides various short term workshops to Tribal resource personnel in such areas as; law enforcement, fish and wildlife management, or specialized training that requires certification, like aviation training or electro-fishing. The second aspect of the program is to provide educational opportunities to Native American students in natural resource management fields. Native American students are enrolled in the cooperative education program at Montana State University where they pursue basic or advanced degrees. The expectation is that they will apply this newly acquired knowledge and natural resource related expertise to conserve and protect fish and wildlife resources by working for Indian Tribes, Federal agencies, State agencies, or non-governmental organizations.

Montana/Wyoming Tribal Fish and Wildlife Commission »

Montana/Wyoming Tribal Fish and Wildlife Commission

The Montana and Wyoming Tribal Fish and Wildlife Commission (MWTFWC) was begun in recognition of the importance and respect accorded to fish and wildlife by Native Montana and Wyoming people, and of the need for a regional native organization to aid in development and protection of Indian fish and wildlife resources.

Formation of the Montana and Wyoming Tribal Fish and Wildlife Commission incorporates more than a present-day commitment to these resources. It represents a dedication to the earth that began with our own beginning, and a pledge to our fellow creatures that cannot be broken. The Montana and Wyoming Tribal Fish and Wildlife Commission is founded on the knowledge that without wild animals, our life would be deprived and demeaned. They move us through the great mystery of creation. "What is man without the beasts?", wrote the Duwamish Tribe Chief Sealth in 1855. If all the beasts were gone, men would die from great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beast also happens to man. All things are connected.

MWTFWC Articles of Incorporation and Constitution and By-laws.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: July 24, 2019
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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