Final Elk Management Plan/EIS
The final Theodore Roosevelt National Park Elk Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (Plan/EIS) evaluates a range of reasonable alternatives to manage the park's elk herd.
The purpose of this Plan/EIS is to develop and implement an elk management strategy compatible with the long term protection and preservation of park resources.
An elk management plan is needed to prevent elk-related undesirable adverse impacts to natural resources in the park consistent with NPS policy; because elk population growth is largely unchecked by controls such as natural predation, hunting, and nutritional restriction; to consider the concerns of area land owners and other land managers; because the park has a responsibility to control the elk population as outlined in agreements with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and North Dakota Game and Fish Department (NDGF); and to reevaluate current objectives and management options given the 2002 Director's Guidance Memorandum on CWD (NPS 2002a).
The alternatives considered include a "no-action" alternative plus five action alternatives—including the preferred alternative—that were developed by an interdisciplinary planning team and through feedback from the public, other agencies, and the scientific community during the planning process.
The preferred alternative utilizes a suite of options contained in Alternatives B (direct reduction with firearms), C (roundup and euthanasia), and D (roundup and translocation) to meet the purpose, need, and objectives of the Plan/EIS. The preferred alternative would primarily involve park employees leading teams of volunteer shooters to reduce the elk herd in the South Unit of the park. The alternative also allows the park the ability to use other methods if the volunteer effort is unsuccessful in reducing the elk numbers to meet park population objectives.