Dear Buffalo Supporters,
Hello Everyone. I hope your new year has been treating you good so far. I’m eagerly awaiting the outcome of the cabinet nominations for the Biden Administration. Specifically, I’m motivated for the Secretary of the Interior nominee Congresswoman Deb Haaland. As an indigenous person, I applaud the courage and vision of President Biden in his nomination. It’s been a long time coming. I am also very excited for the potential for re-envisioning our public trust resources such as wild, Yellowstone bison and federal lands. Buffalo Field Campaign has had a tough time these past four years interacting, communicating, and receiving information from the outgoing Trump Administration. Which is why we are encouraged by the policy commitments of the Biden Administration regarding the governance of our nation’s wildlife and natural resources. Wild, migratory bison and the Yellowstone Ecosystem must be guided by inclusive, science-based policy-making and co-created management.
There are fundamental components of Yellowstone bison and natural resources management that will immediately benefit from science-based decision making that is inclusive, transparent, and robust. Most importantly, immediately conducting an Environmental Assessment for wild, migratory bison and the federal lands consisting of the Yellowstone Ecosystem will ensure all federal actions are founded in the best available science. Next, consistent with priorities outlined by the Biden Administration, robust planning and governance processes must include environmental justice. Re-envisioning Yellowstone bison management must meaningfully include all of the important stakeholders, including tribes with treaty-reserved rights. Transparency must also be an integral element of public engagement, planning, and management. The federal government must regain the public trust in their management actions and policy intent. With President Biden’s commitment to environmental justice, we can hope for significant improvements to the public processes contributing to Yellowstone bison management. Further, we must give bison a meaningful opportunity to contribute ecosystem services over a larger geographic area. Lastly, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has emerged as a widespread threat to regional wildlife. APHIS must reprioritize their resources to address the imminent threat of CWD, while amending how they treat the unfounded concern of brucellosis transmission from bison to cattle. Removing Brucella abortus from the bio-terrorism agent list would allow university researchers to develop an effective brucellosis vaccine for domestic livestock that removes another barrier for wild, migratory bison in fulfilling their ecological niche.
While bison are still on the landscape in the Yellowstone Ecosystem I have hope. Adopting these fundamental changes to bison governance and the federal lands surrounding Yellowstone National Park, provides strong leadership that will create immediate positive results. Re-envisioning natural resource policy development will benefit all Americans, our public trust wildlife and lands, and protect them for our generations yet to come. We must utilize our collective voices to call for these important considerations for policy change.
Thank you for remaining by the side of Yellowstone bison and Buffalo Field Campaign. Our unity protects the landscapes, wildlife, and natural gifts we all cherish so dearly.
James Holt, Sr.
Executive Director, Buffalo Field Campaign
“The Earth and I are of One Mind.”- Chief Joseph, Nimiipuu (Nez Perce)