Department of Interior Secretarial Order Advances Bison Restoration, Prioritizes Tribal Expertise

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s order will ensure Tribal representation and leadership are at the forefront of long-term planning for bison restoration. The order prioritizes the expertise and knowledge of Tribes while also creating capacity to expand current bison and prairie grassland restoration efforts.

“Having access to buffalo is a treaty right that supports the food sovereignty of Tribes, and is a significant keystone species that is critical to the land itself.” said Jason Baldes, Tribal buffalo senior program manager for the National Wildlife Federation. “The secretarial order from Secretary Haaland reaffirms the United States Trust responsibility to support the self-determination of Tribes and acknowledges our efforts in establishing prolific populations of buffalo across the country.”

The secretarial order will:

  • Formalize the Department of the Interior Bison Working Group
  • Reserve a Tribal seat on the Bison Working Group
  • Establish a bison management apprentice program
  • Direct the bison working group to develop a long-term co-stewardship bison restoration plan
  • Commit at least $25 million to bison restoration including on Tribal lands, National Parks, and National Wildlife Refuges


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