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Comment period extended for Bison Range

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POLSON – The public comment period for a new comprehensive conservation plan for the National Bison Range, Ninepipe Wildlife Refuge and other area conservation lands in Lake and Flathead counties has been extended.

Bernardo Garza, a planning team leader with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Denver, said a 30-day extension began Aug. 30. Garza made his comment at a public meeting held at the North Lake County Public Library in Polson on Aug. 30. He noted that the effort is the beginning of a three-year process.  

The initial public meeting was held June 6, at the Red Lion in Polson. 

Bison Range project leader Jeff King announced at a recent meeting in Missoula that the CCP process will not include consideration of an annual funding agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. King said the CCP is about what work will be done, not who will do it. 

Earlier this year, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke nixed a transfer of the range to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes that was proposed during the Obama Administration.

One CCP and environmental impact statement will be developed for the National Bison Range and another for Ninepipe, Pablo, and Lost Trail national wildlife refuges and wetland/waterfowl management districts in Lake and Flathead counties. Lake County has nine such properties in the latter designation and Flathead County five, including the 2,600-acre Flathead Waterfowl Production Area that is located along Flathead Lake’s northern shore. 

The public can make comments by emailing: scoping_NBR@fws.gov for the bison range or scoping_pablo_ninepipe@fws.gov for the other properties. 

For more information, go online at www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/refuges/nbrc.php or call 406-644-2211. 

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