In the first of three meetings scheduled to address a current Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks proposal on the translocation of bison, not a single person testified in favor of the move. Wednesday’s meeting held in Deer Lodge was focused on the possibility of a number of bison being moved from either Ted Turner’s “Green Ranch” or a quarantine facility just outside of Yellowstone National Park to the Spotted Dog Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in southwest Montana. The Spotted Dog WMA would be an interim holding spot for the very animals that could be used to make up a free-roaming bison herd in the state of Montana in the future. The Marias River WMA and the Fort Belknap and Fort Peck Indian Reservations are also being considered.
Reece Price is a rancher from Avon and attended Wednesday’s meeting. Reece is also the Secretary-Treasurer of the newly organized Rocky Mountain Stockgrowers Association which is an affiliate of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.
Reece described to Northern Ag the number of people at the meeting and the testimony that was given.
Reece says that there was one sportsman there that was in favor of bison being wild and free, but that after reading the Fish and Game’s environmental assessment on this translocation, he was not in favor of doing it this way.
While there was a question and answer portion of Wednesday’s meeting, Reece said that they requested that it be after the public testimony so that the frustration in the room could be fully expressed beforehand. When the time came for questions and answers, he told us that nothing new came out and that a lot was avoided.
This meeting is the first of three. The second will be held in Shelby tonight (Thursday) starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Marias River Electric Cooperative. The third meeting will be held at the Glasgow Civic Center starting at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, October 17. A public comment period is also open until October 19 for those that would rather send in written testimony or that cannot make it to the meetings. To learn how to post comments, read the Environmental Impact Statement on this translocation or see maps of where the bison may be moved, please read “MT’s ‘Free-Roaming’ Bison Herd Needs Pasture.”
Simultaneous to this comment period, FWP has also released a preliminary report on the idea of Montana having a wild, free-roaming bison herd. For more, please see “Read Arnie Dood’s Free-Roaming Bison Report!” After publishing of this report, criticism began circulating about survey data that was omitted. For more on this topic, please read “What Survey Results Didn’t Make Bison Report?”
© Northern Ag Network 2011