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Department of Interior announces new bison restoration working group

Posted at 1:42 PM, Mar 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-03 15:42:07-05

The Department of the Interior announced new steps Friday toward restoring wild populations of American bison.

Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland issued an order to establish a bison working group with representatives from federal bureaus. Those bureaus include: the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey

The group's goal is to develop a plan that includes prioritizing restoration through strengthening conservation partnerships, including establishing new large herds owned or managed by Tribal nations.

The work will be paid for with $25 million from the Inflation Reduction Act. That money will pay for projects that include bison transfers to tribes, and improving grasslands through the restoration of native plants and prescribed fire efforts.

Bison restoration has been controversial in Montana as ranchers and ag producers worry the animals could spread diseases like brucellosis or compete with livestock grazing opportunities.

Read the Department of Interior's full announcement here.