BILLINGS (AP) — Federal wildlife officials have agreed to prepare a conservation plan for Montana’s National Bison Range as part of a settlement in a lawsuit brought by an environmental group.
The settlement filed last week in U.S. District Court resolves a 2016 complaint from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER, an advocacy group based near Washington, D.C.
It requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to complete the conservation plan by 2023. The government also agreed to pay PEER $50,000 for its legal expenses.
The 29-square-mile refuge within the Flathead Indian Reservation is home to about 350 bison.
One of the lawsuit’s main purposes was addressed last April when Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke reversed a plan to give management of the range to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.