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Theodore Roosevelt National Park Elk Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement

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We are pleased to announce the release of the final Theodore Roosevelt National Park Elk Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (Plan/EIS). The final Plan/EIS reflects more than seven years of planning, and identifies a preferred alternative for managing the park's elk herd.

The Plan/EIS was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality, NPS Management Policies (2006), and NPS Director's Order 12: Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision-Making. Through this planning process, the NPS has analyzed a full range of reasonable alternatives and evaluated their impacts on the human environment and ability to achieve the stated plan objectives.

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 will primarily make use of skilled public volunteers to assist the park with culling the elk herd through the use of firearms. The park would not pay private contractors or outside individuals to shoot elk. The initial reduction phase would reduce the elk herd, now estimated at 1,000 elk, to approximately 200 elk within five years, by removing approximately 275 elk per year. Following the initial reduction phase, the park would take an additional 20 to 24 elk per year for the remaining ten years of the Plan in order to maintain a consistent population level. For both the initial reduction phase and the maintenance phase, the number of elk taken outside the park would be used to refine the number of elk that must be removed from the park each year in order to meet the population goals. Following each year of the initial reduction phase, the NPS will evaluate the program in order to determine if its population goals are being met. If population goals are being achieved, the park will continue with the use of firearms. Should the park determine that its population goals are not being met following the first two years of the initial reduction phase, it would continue with direct reduction activities but would also have the ability to use a roundup or other capture methods and then euthanize and/or translocate elk in order to meet its population objectives.

The National Park Service prepared a draft Plan/EIS, which was made available for public review for 90 days, from December 17, 2008 to March 19, 2009. Five public meetings on the draft Plan/EIS were held across the state of North Dakota from February 23, 2009 to February 28, 2009. The NPS preferred and environmentally preferable alternatives were announced in a separate newsletter and made available for public comment for 30 days, from August 10, 2009 to September 9, 2009. Comments on both the draft Plan/EIS and the preferred and environmentally preferable alternatives were considered from individuals, groups, and public agencies on a range of issues. Responses to public comments on the draft plan/EIS and the preferred and environmentally preferable alternatives are included in the final EIS.

You may download a copy of the final Plan/EIS by clicking on the "Document List" link at the left of this page, and then clicking on the "Final Elk Management Plan/EIS" link. You may also obtain a copy of the final Plan/EIS by sending a request to the Superintendent, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, P.O. Box 7, Medora, North Dakota 58645-0007.

A 30-day no-action period will follow the Environmental Protection Agency's Notice of Availability of the final EIS. After the 30-day period, a Record of Decision documenting the selected alternative will be signed by the Regional Director that will document NPS approval of the Final Elk Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement and identify the selected alternative for implementation.


Contact Information
Bill Whitworth
Chief, Resource Management
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
(701) 623-4466