OK, Beej, you got this ball rolling.......................

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 12:35:03 11/23/15

In Reply to: Trolling Google on this topic... posted by Beej

First, I have some familiarity with those wild bison herds in Colorado. In fact, you may have seen the Genesee Mountain herd while driving along I-70 west of Denver. They have been there since 1914. The Denver Mountain Parks people argue that the bison and elk at this location were obtained from Yellowstone. For bison genetics purists, it raised the question of exactly which herd in Yellowstone was the source of these critters, since we know some "exotic" bison were brought in to augment the decimated herd. One can really get into some hair splitting when trying to determine whether there really is a 100% genetically pure remnant Yellowstone bison.

The recently released herd north of Fort Collins is probably the one DG alluded to, although I have no information on it.

I did a quick search on the issue of which state agency has the ball on bison management in Montana. The link I provided makes the answer "clear as mud", and actually is quite insightful on what has been going on in recent years for anyone with the perseverance and interest in wading through all the legalese.

The last major development that I recall from shortly before I moved to Alaska was the supposed decision by the governor to move jurisdiction from DOL to FWP. That's the guv who used to show up at formal events wearing plaid flannel open-collared shirts, accompanied by his dog. After perusing the linked document, I can see that the Citizens for Balanced Use (CBU) lawsuit hosed that up.

For anyone who has not been following this case, you might remember seeing the bison herd in the large enclosure along Hwy 89, north of Gardiner, on the side of the road opposite the Yellowstone River. That herd was grown from bison calves and yearlings that had migrated out of Yellowstone and tested sero-negative for exposure to brucellosis. (Remember, there are 3 potential classifications for a tested bison: brucellosis-free, evidence of having been exposed to brucellosis, and infected with brucellosis. Only young bison who had no antibodies from having been exposed to brucellosis or evidence of infection were considered for the experimental quarantine.) Eventually, that herd grew to the point where a management decision had to be made on what to do with the burgeoning population that was threatening to outstrip the carrying capacity of the enclosure. That is when the Fort Peck and Fort Belkap Reservations volunteered to take some of the quarantined bison. That led to the CBU legal intervention. Another Google search took me to a number of citations that show significant bison transfers to Fort Belknap in 2013 and Fort Peck in November of 2014.

It would be nice if each of the Affiliated Tribes got a vote in the IBMP process, but the power people in APHIS and MOntana DOL are not about to allow that to happen anytime soon. I do believe that if Cultural Resources had some magnificently charismatic native rights advocate, that individual could exert some powerful influence within the NPS sphere. I never saw any apparent linkage between native people at IBMP meetings and the NPS Resource Management folks in attendance.


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