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Public input sought on bison grazing proposal

Carie Birkmeier

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BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

The Bureau of Land Management is asking for the public’s help in determining what the agency should analyze as it considers proposed changes to several grazing leases.

American Prairie Reserve controls private properties tied to 18 BLM grazing allotments in Fergus, Petroleum, Phillips, and Valley counties. They have submitted a proposal asking the BLM to modify their grazing permits.

APR is seeking permission to change the class of livestock from cattle to bison; allow for season-long grazing; fortify existing external boundary fences by replacing the second strand from the top with an electrified wire; and remove interior fences.

The BLM plans to analyze all 18 grazing allotments in one environmental assessment to consolidate efforts across the district.

“We are asking the public to provide input on what they feel needs to be analyzed in the EA,” said BLM North Central Montana District Manager Mark Albers. “The most helpful comments are those that describe specific issues upon which we should focus our analysis, rather than a personal opinion on the relative merits of the proposed changes.”

The BLM will hold four open-house style scoping meetings in Winnett, Winifred, Malta and Glasgow, Montana.

The scoping period runs from April 9 to May 9. After scoping comments are received and reviewed, a draft environmental assessment will be produced and released to the public for a 30-day review period. During that review period, BLM will return to these same communities and host meetings to gather input from the public.

Scoping comments can be sent to blm_mt_scoping_ncmd@blm.gov or APR Scoping Comments, BLM Malta Field Office, 47285 Highway 2, Malta, MT 59538.

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