The National Park Service (NPS) and the State of Montana (State) have agreed to prepare a joint Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to consider possible changes for managing wild Yellowstone bison and the non-native disease brucellosis.
The process will allow the NPS and the State to account for substantial new information and changed circumstances since the implementation of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) began in 2001, and could result in the creation of a plan to replace the IBMP.
The NPS and the State will be working within the guidelines of both the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) in preparing the EIS.
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 by the NPS and the State.
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.
The NPS and the State will continue to implement the current IBMP with agreed upon adaptive management changes until new Federal and State Records of Decision are signed at the conclusion of this environmental planning and review process.
(Report by Montana FWP; Feature photo via gallery.usgs.gov)