The National Park Service (NPS) and the State of Montana (State) have set the dates for three public scoping meetings in southwest Montana related to the development of a new Yellowstone-area Bison Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
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. The meetings will begin with a brief presentation on the history of bison management and the need for a new bison management plan. Following the presentation, there will be an open house during which time staff from the NPS and the State will be available to answer questions.
The meetings will also provide an opportunity for attendees to submit comments pertaining to the six preliminary alternatives and related issues set out in the public scoping newsletter. Anyone, whether attending a public meeting or not, can find more information and comment online at the NPS PEPC website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/YELLBisonPlan. The 90-day public scoping period closes June 15, 2015. At that point, the NPS and State will analyze and consider all feedback received and begin the preparation of the Draft EIS.
This new bison management plan will replace the Interagency Bison Management Plan (implemented since 2001) taking into account available science and agency experience in managing bison. The new plan will serve as a management guideline aiming to conserve a wild and migratory population of Yellowstone-area bison, while minimizing the risk of brucellosis transmission between these wild bison and livestock to the extent practicable.
A Record of Decision related to this new bison management plan is expected to be approved in mid-to-late 2017. Until then, management of bison in the Yellowstone area will continue under the current Interagency Bison Management Plan.