MT DOL Board of Livestock Meeting
May 20, 2014, Helena

During Dr. Marty Zaluski's presentations, the Board of Livestock covered the issues of the Elk DSA expansion and the Bison Environmental Assessment for Year Round Tolerance.

The final decision on the DSA was to expand it and the final decision on the Bison EA was to retain their original vote from January of No Action.

Draft Joint Pilot Project Document presented to the BOL May 20, 2014

Audio File MP3 1hour 21 minutes

Audio begins with the elk brucellosis DSA expansion. Vote passes expansion, it will now go out for public comment (map and document coming soon as it is posted at DOL website.)

11:29 the Bison EA conversation begins

Public Comments
37:33 - Errol Rice of the Montana Stockgrowers Association said they cant support this proposal

38:40 - Nick Gevock of the Montana Wildlife Federation stated, "I'm Nick Gevock. I'm the conservation director for the Montana Wildlife Federation. Obviously there's a lot of support for this from the hunting community. And I just want to say that the Park is often criticized for not managing their bison herd. This would allow the most effective management tool, which is hunters and set some real population targets. We do support this. Thank you."
(I have to refute that Montana hunters support this. I know quite a number that do not. Additionally, the science does not back up Mr. Gevocks statement that the YNP's bison population needs to have "some real population targets." In fact, a number of reports show that YNP can easily handle more bison than the current population. Please see papers on the Yellowstone National Park Habitat page, especially the Ecological Dynamics on Yellowstones Northern Range, a National Research Council report which addressed bison population in the YNP.)

39:08 - Joe Gutkowski of the Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation thought they were just voting on the previous EA that did not have bison slaughter objectives attached to each alternatives as the current one did, asked them to vote for Alternative B, the largest expanded habitat. Asked them to stop slaughtering bison.

45:50 - Sen. Taylor Brown asked them to remember who you are representing here today - livestock

48:23 - Sen. Ripley asked them to put it off and do more work

49:17 - Kathryn QannaYahu EMWH pointed out that this EA has been changed after the closing of the public comment period, that it was disingenuous to add minimum population reducing objectives with each of the alternatives, to apply them post public comment time is a disservice to the public. Lethal removals - if they voted on this and it went to the IBMP for a vote, the 3 Native American organizations (ITBC, CSKT and Nez Perce, which have been major recipients of bison meat from slaughters (ship to slaughter agreements), would be voting on this EA and would be beneficiaries. The lethal removal section: "When bison migrate outside any of the tolerance areas described above, removals may be made by agents of MDOL, MWFP (another typo, should be MFWP) or private hunters (?). When agents of MDOL or MWFP make a lethal removal, carcasses will be handled in accordance with 81-2-120 (2) MCA. The final decision for lethal removal will be made by the state veterinarian." This would not guarantee MT hunters the chance for licenses, tags ( I advocate fair chase hunting btw), the Native Americans could be recipients of more ship to slaughter (ITBC SLaughter Agreement, CSKT Slaughter Agreement). MT hunting of wild bison is not under FWP authority bu the MT DOL St. Vet per MCA 87-2-730.

50:40 - Rep. Allen Redfield said it was a step in the wrong direction

53:42 - Matt Skoglund of NRDC stated that we need to manage bison on a larger landscape.

55:20 - Kirstin of Sierra Club stated expanded habitat and tying that to decreased numbers was counter intuitive.

55:37 - Montana Farm Bureau submitted a petition against it. Brought up the elk brucellosis management lawsuit filed by two sportsmens groups, then went on to say, "Bison are a species in need of management because they emanate from a disease herd - these will not be wildlife - they will be species in need of management." Then he questioned if like the elk lawsuit, they would get sued over this.

57:37 Christian MacKay explains some fencing issues and addresses some other questions that have been brought up in the public comments.

1:01:30 Jim Hagenbarth said this was a huge issue

1:04:46 - Board of Livestock member rancher/attorney John Scully brought up that the document does not include parties that need to be included. "We are in absolute violation of state law (87-1-216)." He brought up the elk brucellosis management lawsuit, says they are subject to MEPA since EA has been expanded or changed from its original purpose. Gallatin National Forest should be included. "Governor has already decided, as announced to this board, the IBMP is something he is going to control next time and I think thats very appropriate. So therefore the Board of Livestock and Fish, Wildlife & Parks wont have their independent say." (Called theGovernors office and Tim Baker stated the Governor had no plans to take over the IBMP process and remove DOL or FWP. Spoke with John Scully afterward, he equated the EA and new EIS process with the IBMP, so he believes the message from the Governor was in relation to DOL and FWP working together on this Bison EA, not the Governor removing the DOL or FWP from the IBMP Interagency. So hopefully this will clear up any confusion as to what this was in reference to.)

1:21:32 they vote to accept previous vote of No Action.







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