Initial Bison Herd Reduction at Grand Canyon National Park
A herd of bison was brought to the Grand Canyon region in the early 1900s and has been managed since 1950 by the state of Arizona in the House Rock Wildlife Area (HRWA) on the Kaibab National Forest, through an interagency agreement with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
For the next 40 years, the bison herd remained largely confined to the HRWA. However, during the late 1990s, the bison began "pioneering" up to the top of the Kaibab Plateau and into Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP). Over the last several years, few bison have returned to HRWA, and most now spend a majority of their time inside the park, with many not leaving the park at all.
In spring 2014, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, NPS initiated public scoping for an environmental impact statement (EIS) to develop a long-term, coordinated approach to manage the current and future impacts of bison on Grand Canyon National Park's natural and cultural resources. Since the initiation of the EIS, the focus of the planning effort has shifted to development of an initial plan for herd reduction. As a result of this change in scope, the NPS now proposes to complete an environmental assessment (EA) instead of an EIS. Because of their special expertise with and/or jurisdiction for managing bison outside the park, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Intertribal Buffalo Council are cooperating agencies for this EA.
NPS is seeking additional input from stakeholders as a result of this change in scope of the NEPA review. More information, including the purpose and need for the EA and a description of the proposed actions being considered by the NPS, can be found by clicking on the 'Documents List' link to the left, and then the '2016 EA Public Scoping Newsletter' link. Comments may also be submitted via the '2016 Public Scoping Newsletter link.'
Sue Consolo-Murphy (928) 638-7759