WHEREAS, the planned conversion of millions of acres by the American Prairie Foundation from cattle ranching to a prairie wildlife reserve featuring bison will have a significant affect on the customs, culture, environment and economy of local communities in north central Montana; and
WHEREAS, brucellosis affects a substantial number of bison and elk in the state of Montana and poses a health threat to area cattle; and
WHEREAS, the conversion of State and Federal grazing permits from cattle to bison that are managed as part of a wildlife reserve and not a traditional livestock operation will threaten the sustainability of local ranches and the local economy; and
WHEREAS, the natural migration of bison may create containment issues and threaten public safety; and
WHEREAS, an assessment of the cumulative impact that a multi-million acre wildlife reserve would have on the natural resources, economy, and communities of north central Montana has not been conducted;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Montana Association of Conservation Districts pursues and supports a temporary moratorium on the conversion of State and Federal grazing leases from cattle to bison; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that based on a study and assessment, a uniform guidance be developed on how to proceed with bison restoration efforts and grazing conversions in Montana.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Montana Association of Conservation Districts stands opposed to the conversion of millions of acres in north central Montana to a wildlife reserve with bison until a study of the social acceptability and an assessment that studies the cumulative impacts of a multi-million acre wildlife reserve on the natural resources, economy, and communities are completed.
Submitted by Phillips County Conservation District
Passed Area III
MACD Committee Assignment: Soil Resource & Land Use
Committee Recommendation: DO PASS
Approved at General Session