Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Bison Management

The National Park Service (NPS) presents its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a Bison Management Plan at Yellowstone National Park for public review. The Draft EIS introduces a broad range of actions for managing bison inside the park. This Draft EIS/plan allows the NPS to evaluate bison management based on new scientific information and changed circumstances, explore ways to reduce bison being sent to slaughter, and to continue working closely with Tribal Nations and agency partners in management. The Draft EIS also considers the bison management actions likely to occur on lands outside the park in Montana, while acknowledging the NPS does not have jurisdiction or control over actions such as hunting or tolerance for bison beyond the park boundary.

The purpose of the EIS is to preserve an ecologically sustainable population of wild, wide-ranging bison while continuing to work with other agencies to address issues related to brucellosis transmission, human safety, property damage and to support Tribal hunting outside the park.

The NPS's Draft EIS considers alternatives to managing bison with varying population ranges and management activities. These include:

Alternative 1: The NPS would continue management of bison pursuant to the existing Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP), approved in 2000. This would maintain a population range of bison similar to the last two decades (3,500 to 5,000 bison after calving), continue hunt-trap coordination to balance population regulation in the park by using culling and hunting opportunities outside the park, increase the number of brucellosis-free bison relocated to Tribal lands via the Bison Conservation Transfer Program (BCTP), and work with the State of Montana to manage the already low risk of brucellosis spreading from bison to cattle.

Alternative 2: Bison would be managed within a population range of about 3,500 to 6,000 animals after calving with an emphasis on using the BCTP to restore bison to Tribal lands and Tribal treaty hunting outside the park to regulate numbers.

Alternative 3: The NPS would rely on natural selection, bison dispersal, and public and Tribal harvests in Montana as the primary tools to regulate numbers, which would likely range from 3,500 to 7,000 or more animals after calving.

Interested individuals, organizations and agencies are encouraged to provide written comments regarding the alternatives, information, and analyses presented in the Draft EIS. To submit a comment on the project, click the "Open For Comment" link on the left side of this page. Then select the "Draft EIS" document and then click the "Comment on Document" button and then "Comment Now" to enter and submit your comments. Comments can also be mailed to: Superintendent, Attn: Bison Management Plan, PO Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190. The deadline to submit comments is September 25, 2023.

Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or in any other way than those specified above. Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted. Before including your address, telephone number, electronic mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comments, you should be aware that your entire comment (including your personal identifying information) may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comments to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
Comment Period: Closed        Aug 10, 2023 - Oct 10, 2023
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