Management of National Wildlife Refuges - An Inherent Federal Responsibility. There are current efforts in the Interior Department, in Washington, DC, to negotiate a contract with the Confederated Tribes of western Montana regarding the National Bison Range, Pablo and Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuges, and the NW Montana Wetlands District that raise many disturbing issues concerning the legal authority to allow such action. Section 403(k) of the 1994 "Self-Governance Act," the authority Interior cites for proposing to sign over management of at least 40 National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) and 30 National Parks to various tribal organizations, explicitly excludes "functions or activities that are inherently federal" from the agreements. This Bulletin describes why the management of national wildlife refuges is an inherent Federal responsibility.
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