There is an art to writing comments.

It is like making a painting: the brush is the instrument of your intent, the colors the raw material or content, the canvass the place to apply your vision and creativity, in this case, your reasoning, rationale, and evidence in written form.

Here are tips for developing comments to strengthen Alternative D for American bison in the Custer Gallatin forest plan revision.

1. Lead with your strength.

Your strength may be your Nation's treaty-reserved right, or the National Forest's duty to provide habitat for wildlife, a public trust. Your strength may be your passion or mission to protect public lands, wildlife, and nature, or how your business is sustained by the National Forest.

2. Understand the rules.

The National Forest planning rule mandates every National Forest rely upon the best available scientific information in its decision making, protect connectivity (a new rule), restore riparian habitat, provide habitat for viable plant and animal communities and persistence of native species, among them.

3. Know the definitions.

The National Forest planning rule spells out definitions for special terms: maintain, stressor, conserve, viable population, and many more. Use them.

4. Comment with substance.

Native knowledge, the best available scientific information, your personal experience, your knowledge of place, history, biology, ecology, and common sense are wellsprings for writing substantive comments.

5. Be resourceful.

At you can find a trove of resources to support your comments. Share these resources.

6. Meet the deadline.

June 6, 2019 is the final day to submit comments in support of strengthening Alternative D for American bison. The deadline is not to be missed.

7. Protect your standing.

You will have no standing to object in court to an agency decision and public process you did not participate in (and, on time).

Stay tuned. I plan on posting an updated draft of comments in support of strengthening Alternative D for you to review, incorporate, and add to your own comments in May.

Nitsíniiyi’tak, Pidamaya, Thank you.

Darrell Geist, habitat coordinator
Buffalo Field Campaign