Yellowstone to work with Montana on revised bison plan

Proposed changes to a 2001 plan to manage Yellowstone Park’s wild bison will be considered as part of a new environmental impact statement to be jointly developed by the National Park Service and state of Montana.

New information and circumstances pertaining to bison and the management of brucellosis will be drawn from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Montana Department of Livestock, and the Park Service, according to a statement released Friday by park officials.

Completion of the EIS may eventually result in the creation of a plan to replace the Interagency Bison Management Plan which began in 2001.

Yellowstone officials say the Park Service and Montana will work within the guidelines of both the National Environmental Policy Act and the Montana Environmental Policy Act.

A notice will be published in the Federal Register later this year announcing the start of public scoping, which is an opportunity early in the planning and EIS process for the public, organizations, and other agencies to suggest issues and alternatives that should be considered.

The purpose of management is to conserve a viable wild population of Yellowstone bison while continuing to reduce the risk of brucellosis transmission to cattle, damage to property, and threats to human safety, park spokesmen said.

The park service and Montana officials will continue to implement current bison management policies with agreed adaptive management changes until new federal and state records of decision are signed at the conclusion of this environmental planning and review process, according to Yellowstone’s release.

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