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Bison talks

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will hold a two-day talk about bison management in Billings on July 14-15.

After the last meeting set for Lewistown was canceled, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has scheduled a two-day discussion in Billings, July 14-15, on issues related to a bison conservation and a management plan for Montana.

FWP has assembled a diverse group of interests and a number of state and community leaders to participate in the facilitated gathering in Billings at the Big Horn Resort, 1801 Majestic Lane. The meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 10 a.m. on July 14 and end at 4 p.m. on July 15.

This is the second gathering of interested parties. The first meeting, held last September, was intended to build trust and understanding among groups and individuals as they discussed and examined bison conservation and management issues and the Montana Environmental Policy Act process.

"We've invited a few more people to participate in this discussion group," said Jeff Hagener, director of FWP in Helena, in a statement. "We'll review the work from September, set some discussion and decision sideboards and offer two hours for members of the public to provide comments."

The discussion is designed to review issues and possible alternatives that could be considered in an environmental impact statement for bison conservation and management.

Discussion group members include conservation and agricultural representatives, state and federal agencies, county commissioners and state legislators. Members of the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission will also participate.

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Hagener stressed that the discussion will not lead to any decisions on bison management beyond some appropriate range of management alternatives to be considered in an environmental impact statement, including a "no action" alternative.

The public comment segment is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 14. For a full agenda visit FWP online at fwp.mt.gov, then click "Bison Discussion Group".

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