Do you support a quarantine of Yellowstone bison? Would you support relocating brucellosis-free bison out of the Park?
The National Park Service wants your take on the matter. Indeed, they’re soliciting public comment on an Environmental Assessment to determine whether to quarantine Yellowstone bison and relocate them elsewhere. The deadline for submission is February 15, 2016 by midnight MDT.
According to a Yellowstone press release, “The purpose of a quarantine program for Yellowstone bison would be to establish or augment new conservation and cultural herds of plains bison; conserve a viable, wild population of Yellowstone bison; maintain the low risk of brucellosis transmission from bison to cattle; reduce the need for shipment of bison to meat processing facilities to limit population growth; and provide cultural and nutritional opportunities for Native Americans.”
The actual Environmental Assessment would weigh three possibilities for bison quarantine:
a) No program, meaning current operations under the Interagency Bison Management Plan would continue in its current form.
b) Yellowstone National Park would manage a quarantine program within Park boundaries.
c) Quarantine operations would be conducted on the Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana.
According to the NPS, the Fort Peck option would be their first choice.
Anyone interested in commenting on the quarantine program can do so at Yellowstone’s Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website. Commenters may also hand deliver them to the Yellowstone park administration building. Finally, comments can be mailed to the following address.
PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park
Faxed or emailed comments will not be acknowledged or considered in the final analysis. In addition, all comments must from individuals; bulk comments will not be accepted.
For anyone interested in reading the Environmental Assessment, it may be found here. People interested in obtaining a hard copy should call 307-344-2015 to order one.
Once comments are read and categorized, the Regional Director of the Intermountain Region of the NPS will issue a final decision on the matter. It’s worth noting: with capture operations not slated to start until mid-February, a quarantine and relocation program could be implemented as soon as this winter season.
UPDATE: the public comment period has been extended to February 29, read the full story here.