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



August 25, 2004
For Immediate Release                                                              


Matt Kales, FWS, (303) 236-4576
Gwen Lankford, CSKT, (406) 675-2700, ext. 1119

The U.S. 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. 

The 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. 

 These 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:  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.

 The 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.

 The 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 programs.

 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. 

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.

The 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 American people.

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