Restore Montana public-trust wild bison to the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge

Restore Montana public-trust wild bison to the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge

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Montana Wild Bison Restoration Coalition started this petition to Governor of Montana Governor Greg Gianforte and

Friends of Montana wild biodiversity: There are no public-trust, wild bison, year-round, in Montana. The largest national wildlife refuge within the historic range of plains bison, in Montana, does not have this important keystone species. Restoring bison on the Charles M. Russell Refuge landscape is essential for maintaining the wild genetics of American plains bison. This is a state and national issue.

A few years ago, the Montana legislature provided guidelines for restoring a public herd of wild bison while protecting private property and controlling possible disease issues for private livestock. Now, the 2021 legislature is passing two bills that will render these guidelines meaningless and will prevent any restoration of public, wild bison in Montana. See more at mtwildbison.org. 'Bad' Bison Bills In Montana Set Back Conservation of America's Official National Mammal.

We must petition Montana Governor Gianforte to veto these bills. Please consider signing on to the petition provided. Your submission will automatically be sent by e-mail to Governor Gianforte.

Jim Bailey, Coordinator, Montana Wild Bison Restoration Coalition.

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Governor Gianforte: The first attempt to restore public-trust wild bison in the area that is now the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge occurred in 1910. Now, 111 years later, and we still have no public wild bison herd, year-round, in Montana.

Montanans deserve access to a wild herd of this iconic native species. Restoration must occur under legislative guidelines (MCA 87-1-216) that protect and indemnify private property and avoid disease risks for livestock. The CMR Refuge is the best location for this purpose. It is also the best location, anywhere, for fulfilling national goals to maintain plains bison with adequate numbers and distribution to forestall domestication of the wild bison genome, and to achieve a prairie landscape that is ecologically complete with the presence of its most important keystone species.

House bills 302 and 318 are expected on your desk, already or soon. If signed into law, either of these bills is expected to prevent any restoration of public-trust wild bison in Montana, perhaps forever. For the restoration of bison on the CMR Refuge, these bills either ignore, violate, or render meaningless, the following:

Mandates in the Montana Constitution to care for natural resources and objects of historic, cultural and recreational value; and to preserve the opportunity to harvest wild game.

Legislative guidelines for restoring public, wild bison.

The Montana Environmental Policy Act, for use in making difficult decisions.

Twelve years (so far) of effort and expense by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to develop a statewide plan for restoring a herd of public bison in the state.

Three polls demonstrating that 70 percent of Montanans support bison restoration on the CMR.

The mission statements of the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service and of the federal Refuge System; and the Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997.

The U. S. Department of Interior Bison Conservation Initiative.

The National Environmental Policy Act, for use in public decision-making.

The ability of the Russell Refuge to achieve its overall goal of restoring natural ecosystems on the Refuge, stated in the Refuge Plan.

HBs 302 and 318 betray the legislature’s pubic-trust responsibilities to manage a resource for all the people. I respectfully request that you veto these bills and restore a public, wild bison herd as your legacy for future generations of Montanans.

Thank you,

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!