It is more than a little "messy"

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 13:30:22 11/21/15

In Reply to: I acn't believe that the tribes with enough pasturage haven't been approached... posted by Beej


Native tribes as an entity are party to the IBMP. Theoretically, that gives them a voice in Yellowstone bison management. Unfortunately, they are lumped as essentially one entity/one vote, whereas you have a number of federal (APHIS, FS, NPS) and state (DOL, FWP) agencies that are each separately identified and recognized with individual voting power.

About 4 years ago, it appeared that we were making significant progress in being able to move sero-negative bison to several reservations in Montana and adjacent states. I have not been tracking the issue closely since then, but I know that local agricultural interests in Central and Eastern Montana vigorously fought the idea, including the application of litigation.

We were making serious progress toward a more enlightened approach to bison management in the wake of the work conducted by the Yellowstone Bison Citizens Working Group, because that interest-based process included representatives of ALL the interest groups, including ag interests. Unfortunately, a number of stumbling blocks surfaced that torpedo'd the momentum. One was the lawsuit filed by Park County, Montana, which ultimately failed. Another was resistance presented by individual stockgrowers, who resisted any effort to make compromises. At the same time, serious progress was made along the western boundary of Yellowstone.

I could have sworn that someone with significant power, like the Montana governor, made the decision to move management responsibility for bison from DOL to FWP. I remember thinking that would result in serious positive change over time. Unfortunately, when Pat Flowers, the amazing FWP leader in Bozeman retired, we lost the most conciliatory, engaging voice in the process.

So, we are left with a continuation of a long status quo, where elk keep infecting livestock in the GYE with brucellosis, and bison pay the price for it.

Regarding brucellosis research, the last I heard there was no significant research remaining, because to the majority of America, this is not a pressing issue. There is not much profit potential in it. The RB51 vaccine was an accidental invention that resulted from Russian research into germ warfare. It remains in that shadowy "40-50%" effective realm. I was hoping the study at Texas A&M would bear fruit, but I have not seen any news on it for many years.


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