Bad Bills and Bison

The 67th Montana Legislative Session set wildlife conservation back by decades in our great state and this is most apparent in the all-out assault on bison restoration. With just two bills, House Bill 302 and House Bill 318, this legislature was able to severely hamper any and all efforts to restore our national mammal on public lands in our eastern prairies where they once roamed.

Whereas House Bill 318 further restricts the definition of a wild bison to the point of being nearly impossible to meet, House Bill 302 gives county commissions the authority to be the deciding voice in whether wild bison can be translocated within their respective counties. Alone these bills present significant hurdles to restoring a free-roaming wild bison herd, but together they effectively kill any opportunity to restore this species. In many ways, the state has only achieved the result of hamstringing its own authority over wildlife while also ignoring the will of the majority of Montanans. Federal land agencies have stated their intent to establish wild bison on federal lands in appropriate places through the Trump administration’s Bison Conservation Initiative, and this can be done with, or without, the Gianforte administration.

To sum it up, Montana hunters and wildlife conservationists have been asking for a free-roaming wild bison herd for decades and, just when collaborative efforts were about to yield substantial results, one legislative session has set the clock back well over a decade. The Montana Wildlife Federation has submitted a request to Governor Gianforte asking him to veto these bills and respect the years of your hard work to begin restoration of this valued native wildlife species.  

Nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning to head the Bureau of Land Management

Tracey Stone-manning headshot

Montana Hunters and Anglers Praise Nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning to Head Bureau of Land Management

 

HELENA, MT (April 22nd, 2020) — Today President Biden announced the nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning to head the Bureau of Land Management. The move was applauded by the Montana Wildlife Federation and its affiliates.

“Tracy Stone-Manning’s steadfast leadership in the conservation of public lands has been recognized by just about everybody who cares about the outdoors,” said Frank Szollosi, executive director for the Montana Wildlife Federation. “She will be a strong leader at the Department of Interior, and both Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines should work swiftly to confirm her as the next BLM Director.”

“As a sportswoman herself, Tracy Stone-Manning recognizes the need to preserve hunting and angling opportunities for future generations,” said Walker Conyngham, president of Hellgate Hunters and Anglers. “We’re relieved to finally have a candidate for BLM leadership who has experience in working on federal land issues and who understands Montana values. She deserves a swift confirmation in the Senate.”

Stone-Manning, an avid hunter, is well known for working on Montana conservation issues. As a senior advisor at the National Wildlife Federation, she led efforts to conserve iconic Montana landscapes and restore balance to public lands management throughout the U.S. She also served as chief of staff for former Governor Steve Bullock and director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

“It has truly been an honor and a pleasure to work with Tracy Stone-Manning over the past three years. As a hunter, backpacker, birder, and conservationist, she has a deep love for the public lands she will now manage. She also has a management style that will be welcomed by not only the employees who work at the Bureau of Land Management, but by members of Congress, industry officials, ranchers, conservation groups, and all other stakeholders who live, work and recreate on our public lands. Tracy is a consensus builder and a brilliant big-picture thinker. She will lead our public lands and the people, economies, and wildlife that rely on them into a bright and sustainable future. Her nomination is good news for Montana and our country,” said Marcia Brownlee, Montanan and program manager for the National Wildlife Federation’s Artemis Sportswomen initiative.

“The Friends of the Missouri Breaks applaud the nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning to head the Bureau of Land Management. Tracy is a known leader in the conservation community and will ensure that Montana’s most cherished landscapes, like the Missouri Breaks, are protected for all Americans to enjoy,” said Mikayla Moss, acting executive director for the Friends of the Missouri Breaks Monument.

Stone-Manning would play a lead role in expanding access to BLM lands, ensuring outdated oil and gas leasing policies are updated to protect fish, wildlife and outdoor recreation, and tackling the climate crisis through the establishment of a 21st-century civilian climate corps which would restore degraded public lands while creating thousands of good-paying jobs.

“We are pleased to see a Montanan who understands access issues nominated to oversee much of our public lands,” said Drewry Hanes, executive director of the Public Land Water Access Association. “Tracy Stone-Manning has a strong record of working to protect and expand access to our public lands and we look forward to working with her after her confirmation by the Senate.”

Stone-Manning would be the first confirmed BLM Director since 2017, joining other Montanans in Department of Interior leadership such as principal deputy director of the USFS, Martha Williams and Danna Jackson, counselor to the BLM Director.

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Alec Underwood

Federal Conservation Campaigns Director

Alec is responsible for developing and implementing MWF’s federal conservation advocacy and policy campaigns to protect Montana’s fish and wildlife. He spends most of his free time hunting big game and fly fishing Montana’s cherished trout rivers. He also enjoys backpacking, skiing, photography, and woodworking. 

alec@mtwf.org