Gianforte announces settlement agreement ending FWP Bison Plan

Posted at 3:30 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 18:00:33-04

HELENA — Governor Greg Gianforte's office says it has reached an agreement ending Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park's (FWP) bison plan and settling litigation between the department and the United Property Owners of Montana.

“In its effort to spread bison across parts of Montana, FWP didn’t do enough to account for the impacts to local communities and relied on outdated data,” Gianforte said. “This settlement agreement protects our livestock producers and rural lands and reaffirms the state can and should do better going forward.”

As part of the agreement, FWP and United Property Owners agree that a January 2020 environmental impact statement (EIS) for bison conservation and management failed to adequately consider possible disease transmission from bison to other wildlife and livestock, that there was an inadequate opportunity for public comment, and that the EIS relied on outdated data.

The 2020 EIS on bison restoration did not advance any site-specific restoration plans, but said that proposals must follow state law and address guidelines established by a group of stakeholders involved in the process.