Bison Shared Stewardship

The Department of the Interior (DOI) has made a commitment to shared stewardship of wild bison in cooperation with states, tribes, and other stakeholders. In 2023, the DOI assembled a group of staff to initiate a process to develop the Bison Shared Stewardship Strategy, a high level strategy co-authored by bureau staff and tribal members.

Where did the idea of a Shared Stewardship Strategy originate?

Directed by Secretary’s Order 3410, entitled “Restoration of American Bison and the Prairie Grasslands,” and as Action 2 of the DOI Bison Conservation Initiative 2020, the envisioned Stewardship Strategy seeks to establish a comprehensive framework for American bison restoration, including strengthening long-term bison conservation partnerships. The Stewardship Strategy will include a description of the Department’s engagement with States, Tribes, landowners, and nongovernmental conservation partners. It will also identify specific opportunities for the Department to lead or support the establishment of additional wide-ranging, healthy, and brucellosis-free bison herds on Federal and Tribal lands.

About the Bison Shared Stewardship Strategy Project

The information below was included in a letter from Secretary Deb Haaland to Tribal Leaders.

  • Co-author nominations must include the following:
    • An official letter of support from the designated leader of a federally recognized Tribe.
    • A statement of interest from the nominee, which outlines the interest in, experience relevant to, and commitment to the duration of, the cooperative effort. This statement of interest will also be used as a writing sample. 2
  • We envision an author panel that is comprised of 11 co-authors, who will cooperatively draft the Stewardship Strategy. The panel will include five Federal representatives named by the BWG Leadership Team; five Tribal members nominated by Tribes; and one ITBC member nominated by the InterTribal Buffalo Council (ITBC).
  • In the event of a greater number of nominations than available co-author positions, the review and selection process will be managed by the Native American Liaison offices of the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  • We request a 12- to 18-month commitment, which will include 3 in-person meetings (location to be determined by the co-author panel).
  • The BWG will pay for travel and provide honoraria in consideration of time commitments.
  • The BWG will host several virtual information sessions on this project.

  • October 2023 – First rounds of Tribal virtual consultations are held. 
    • Wednesday, October 18, 2023, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. MT
    • Wednesday, October 25, 2023, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. MT
  • December 2023 – First in-person meeting for co-author panel is held.
  • January 2024 – Second in-person meeting for co-author panel is held.
  • February 2024 – First draft of Stewardship Strategy is released for DOI bureau, Tribe, and State review.
  • March 2024 – Second round of Tribal consultations takes place regarding the first draft.
  • April/May 2024 – Third and final in-person meeting takes place for co-author panel.
  • Summer 2024 – Final Stewardship Strategy is released.

Last updated: March 19, 2024