WEST GLACIER, Mont. –  This year, Glacier National Park will receive $300,000 from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to restore natural habitats and address climate change impacts. In fiscal year 2023, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, will provide $52 million to the National Park Service to fund projects throughout the country related to ecosystem resilience, restoration, and environmental planning needs.

 A portion of the funding will initiate studies, in cooperation with the Blackfeet Nation and other partners, to monitor and analyze pre- and post- environmental conditions associated with the Blackfeet led re-introduction of bison adjacent to the park.

 As part of the tribally led Iinnii Initiative, the Blackfeet Nation released a small herd of bison from their captive herd into the Chief Mountain (Ninnaastakoo) area of the Blackfeet Reservation, adjacent to Glacier National Park and Alberta, Canada, on June 26, 2023. The Iinnii Initiative is a collaboration led by the Blackfeet Nation to restore free-ranging bison (‘iinnii’ in Blackfeet language) to the landscape after a 125-year absence. Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park (Parks Canada) have been active participants in the Iinnii Initiative.

 “It is an honor for Glacier National Park to support the Blackfeet Nation with the work to return bison to the landscape,” said Park Superintendent Dave Roemer. “We believe the studies will provide additional information that will assist the tribe in meeting their goals while also protecting park resources.”

$750,000 in IRA funds will go to nine parks including Glacier and an additional $99,500 from BIL will go to Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks for projects to restore threatened whitebark pine and implement the National Whitebark Pine Restoration Strategy. The project includes working with partners and Tribes to plant blister rust resistant seed and seedlings, identify rust resistant trees, monitor seedling survival, and identify climate refugia. The project builds on 20 years of work at Glacier National Park and within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

“Conserving whitebark pine forests across regions is key to the species’ persistence,” said Dawn LaFleur, vegetation and program manager/biologist for Glacier National Park. “Without these actions, threats from plant disease, beetle infestation, changing fire regimes and climate change could cause irreversible loss of whitebark pine and the ecosystem services provided by whitebark pine forests.”

Glacier’s whitebark pine project is in collaboration with partners in the Crown Managers Partnership, including Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada, the U.S. Forest Service Coeur d'Alene Nursery, American Forests, Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation, and the Glacier National Park Conservancy.

In addition, Glacier is receiving IRA funding to assess the climate change vulnerability of water supplies throughout the park to increase the security and sustainability of park water supplies, develop adaptation strategies, and inform investment decisions.

The projects announced today infuse much-needed funding to put people to work addressing critical ecosystem needs to restore healthy and resilient park lands while benefiting communities surrounding parks. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, the National Park Service is working to address the impacts of the climate crisis, including intensifying drought, wildfires, flooding and legacy pollution in national parks and other public lands. Resources are making significant strategic investments to repair critical facilities and infrastructure and enhance conservation through ecosystem restoration and recreation opportunities.

The full lists of fiscal year 2023 projects are available online: IRA Restoration and Resilience projects and BIL Ecosystem Resilience projects.

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