Initial Bison Herd Reduction at Grand Canyon National Park
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 the House Rock bison herd on Grand Canyon National Park's natural and cultural resources.
The House Rock bison herd, which spends the majority of its time on the park's North Rim, descended from animals brought to northern Arizona in 1906. In the 1990s the bison herd, which the Arizona Game and Fish Department has managed in the House Rock Wildlife Area on the Kaibab National Forest since 1929, began venturing onto the North Rim of the park. Most of the bison herd now spends a majority of its time inside the park.
Biologists estimate that since the early 1990s the herd has grown from approximately 100 bison to between 400 to 600 bison that currently roam the Kaibab Plateau. Estimates also show that this bison herd could grow to nearly 800 bison in the next three years and as large as 1200 to 1500 animals within ten years if further management actions are not taken.
As a result of the current population size and expected growth of the House Rock bison herd, in February 2016, the NPS announced that it had shifted the focus of the planning effort from long-term bison management to initial bison herd reduction to address ongoing concerns about impacts to other park resources and values. As a result of this change in scope, the provided another scoping comment period in February/March 2016, and has since completed an environmental assessment (EA) to analyze actions proposed to quickly reduce the bison herd to fewer than 200 animals. The EA, which was prepared in collaboration with our cooperating agencies — the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the InterTribal Buffalo Council, is now available for public review and comment.
To review the environmental assessment and provide comments, please click the "Documents" link or "Open for Comment" link.
Robin Martin (928) 638-7684