Public Comment Period and Meetings on Bison Management

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There are a number of bison planning efforts underway that impact the state of Montana and so MSGA is providing a brief update on these planning documents and how members can become involved. The first effort is between the National Park Service (NPS) and the State of Montana, who are serving as joint lead agencies in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a plan to manage Yellowstone-area bison. As stated in their documents, the goal is to minimizing brucellosis transmission between these wild bison and livestock to the extent practicable.

NPS and State of Montana will be hosting a series of three public scoping open houses in Bozeman, Gardiner, and West Yellowstone, Montana. The open houses will have an identical format and agenda. The meetings will be held in Bozeman on June 2 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Gardiner on June 3 at the Gardiner School, and West Yellowstone on June 4 at the Holiday Inn. Each meeting will run from 6 to 8 p.m. and have an identical agenda.

This document planning process is in the scoping phase, which is the first opportunity to provide comments. The comment deadline is June 15, 2015. Comments can be submitted online at NPS Planning, Environment & Public Comment or by mail to:

Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone Bison Management Plan EIS
PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

There are currently six preliminary draft alternatives, ranging from No Action alternative to year-round bison tolerance. This EIS is designed to update the 2001 Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP).

MSGA is currently reviewing these draft alternatives and will provide talking points to members and submit comments to the NPS. Even though this is the first phase in the planning process, MSGA has been active in communication with our Congressional delegation, APHIS and MT state agencies over impacts of bison to our members.

In addition, MT FWP is finalizing a Statewide Bison Conservation and Management EIS.  FWP has stated the development of this EIS is to address the potential for bison restoration in Montana. There have been four draft alternatives developed, ranging from No Action to bison being restored on public lands. FWP plans to release a draft in late May, followed by a 90-day comment period. MSGA, along with a number of members, attended a series of meeting held by FWP to discuss the development of this EIS. MSGA will once again be very involved in commenting on this document and providing talking points to members, upon its release.

Click here to visit the NPS website and learn more about Yellowstone’s Bison Management Plans.