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Entries in Yellowstone bison (8)


Bison management plan meetings set

Dennis Bragg photo(BOZEMAN)- The latest effort to adjust plans for how wild bison are managed around Yellowstone National Park is being released, with interested ranchers, conservation groups and the general public being invited to view the details next week. 

The new draft plan is designed to replace the Interagency Bison Management Plan, which has been in place since 2011. Wildlife managers say the new plan is being written around the latest science and research, and what has been learned about the herd's migration in and out of the park the past several seasons. 

This plan, being developed by the National Park Service and the State of Montana uses six different alternatives that were outlined in recent public "scoping" efforts. 

The three meetings will give people a chance to review the initial work, with an open house where questions can be directed to NPS and FWP officials. 

The meetings will be held in Bozeman on June 2nd at the Hilton Garden Inn, June 3rd at the Gardiner School and June 4th at the Holiday Inn in West Yellowstone. 

The new plan could be finalized in 2017. 


State begins to analyze "year around" plan for bison outside YNP

(HELENA)- A pair of Montana agencies are ready to ask the public about what issues should be reviewed as the state analyzes the idea of allowing bison to grave year around outside Yellowstone National Park.

The question of allowing the bison to range outside the park has been a contentious one for several years, especially with ranchers who worry about the animals carrying disease and impacting surrounding rangelands.

Now, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Montana Department of Livestock say they’re ready to start a “scoping” process that may eventually lead to a formal plan for managing the bison outside the park.

Today the two agencies announced they’ve scheduled a pair of meetings in mid-August to take public comments. Under the scoping process, the agencies will be collecting input to help narrow down issues and concerns that should be addressed in a formal environmental assessment. That assessment would be have to be complete, and open for additional public comment before any decisions are made on the grazing plan.

The two evening meetings are scheduled for August 20th in West Yellowstone and August 21st in Gardiner.

FWP also held recent meetings across the state about the idea of allowing bison to wander across their historic range along with the other wildlife across Montana. But that work remains in the very early stages. 


Order banning helicopters in bison hazing issued

(HELENA)- A temporary restaining order banning the state from using helicopters to keep bison in the Yellowstone Park boundaries only applies to a very specific area of the Hebgen Basin.

Judge Charles Lovell issued the order Monday at the request of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, which claims the chopper operations to scare the bison back into the park are having an adverse impact on other wildlife in the area, including grizzly bears. 

The Montana Department of Livestock had started using a low flying helicopter to herd the bison last week in a move supported by ranching groups. 


Bison on the menu Monday in Missoula

(HELENA)- Fish, Wildlife and Parks managers are starting a 3-year effort to come up with a statewide plan for managing bison as another of Montana’s wildlife species.

For decades bison have been managed in places like Yellowstone National Park and the National Bison Range as a protected species, bringing them back from the brink of extinction a century ago. However, now wildlife managers say they’re ready to re-introduce bison outside of those preserves.

FWP announced Thursday it will begin hosting a series of public meetings this month that will start the process of developing a “long-term bison conservation and management plan for the state.” The plan will be developed through a process known as a “programmatic environmental impact statement.” That EIS will examine both the benefits, and the drawbacks of treating bison like other managed species such as elk and bighorn sheep.

The agency will hold the meetings as part of the formal “scoping” process under Montana environmental law, giving people a chance to identify all kinds of issues, such as disease, competition with other species and livestock, fence damage, public safety and possible benefits such as how the bison fit into the region’s natural ecology.

In Western Montana, the first FWP bison meeting will be held at the downtown Holiday Inn, starting at 6 p.m. this coming Monday.

FWP has already run into opposition to its early bison-relocation efforts. This week a judge slapped the agency with an injunction blocking further bison from being moved from Yellowstone to the Fort Peck and Fort Belknap reservations. 


Gardiner Basin bison plan will stay

(GARDINER)- It looks like there won't be any changes in that plan allowing wild bison to roam freely outside the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park. 

The idea of allowing the bison to roam in the area known as the Gardiner Basin has generated a lot of heat, especially from ranchers who worry the big animals could spread disease to their herds in Montana.

However, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports this week that the bison management agencies have reaffirmed their decision to allow the free grazing after completing a new assessment. That decision was based on a new environmental assessment that was issued earlier this winter which took another look at where the "tolerance zones" should be set up. The report generated from that 5,000 comments and the Chronicle reports most of those were form letters, sent by four specific groups here in the state. Some came from other countries. 

Because of those comments, managers have decided the larger tolerance zones will stay in place. 

Read more from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.