An estimated 100 people attended the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) scoping meeting last night in Billings, MT regarding the proposed idea of introducing a free-roaming wild bison herd somewhere in the state.
The FWP’s Arnie Dood who has been overseeing this project from the start opened the meeting by telling people there isn’t a set program and that FWP was there to listen, hear concerns and talk about alternatives.
He also walked attendees thru the timeline saying no real decision expected on a wild bison herd until the fall of 2013 at the earliest.
Arnie Dood isn’t a stranger to highly contentious wildlife issues. He was FWP’s point man for the reintroduction of both grizzly bears and gray wolves in Montana.
Since it was just a scoping meeting and not a meeting where FWP was taking official public comment, the room was set up with 10 sets of 10 chairs each set up in a semi circle with a FWP moderator and white board at each one to record concerns and alternatives.
Examples of Management Concerns expressed:
- Why do we need to turn back time with bison and relive history
- Who decided an EIS should be done and why at this time
- Long-term cost
- Never ending lawsuits
- What is the target number of bison
- How are selected areas being identified
- Public safety
- What does free-roaming bison mean
- Impact on existing landowners
- Impact on streams & riparian areas
- Where will wild bison come from
- Pressure on other wildlife species
Examples of Alternatives Expressed:
- Do nothing/No action plan
- Establish another National Bison Range
- Don't let any YNP bison into Montana
- Ask other states if they're interested in a wild bison herd
- Tax other states to help Montana pay for managment
- Classify wild bison as livestock
- No wild bison managed by FWP
- Give all wild bison to Indian Tribes
- Hired trained wild bison personel
- Begin a wild bison hunting season
The term “free-roaming” wild bison has been used alot during the public scoping meetings. In Billings, the Northern Ag Network's Russell Nemetz talked with the FWP's Arnie Dood about the meaning.
Watty Taylor is the president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association and also visited with Russell Nemetz in Billings about a wild bison herd in Montana.
To learn more about the overall timeline and steps involved and to submit your comments by the June 25, 2012 deadline, click here.
Source: Northern Ag Network