Previously FWP has evaluated the possibility of relocating disease-free bison to other areas in Montana as part of the ongoing quarantine feasibility study. The bison in the quarantine feasibility study are part of a research project directed by FWP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at a 400-acre bison quarantine facility north of Yellowstone National Park. As of the spring of 2012, these bison have been relocated to ongoing quarantine pastures on Turner Enterprise’s Green River Ranch and the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
During its meeting on January 13, 2011 the FWP Commission endorsed FWP's proposal to prepare an environmental assessment on the quarantine bison, as well as, to examine the potential to restore a population of wild bison somewhere within the state.
FWP has not currently established a timeline for possible bison restoration, but is rather seeking to explore options that could be considered in the future through a formal Montana Environmental Policy Act process.
In the past, animals originating from Yellowstone National Park have been used to help restore elk, antelope, and other wildlife herds in Montana and the West. If the decision were made to restore a population of bison FWP would examine the potential to use bison originating from Yellowstone National Park, as well as, bison from other source herds.
Wild and hunted bison exist in Alaska, Arizona, Utah, Canada and other places. Today in Montana hunts are limited to bison that migrate north from Yellowstone National Park into winter habitats near West Yellowstone and Gardiner.
In order to prepare a statewide bison management plan, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is moving forward with the development of a programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) to address the potential for bison restoration in Montana. The EIS will examine an array of possible alternatives from a no action alternative to a number of different bison restoration alternatives and the potential impacts of those alternatives.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks hosted a two-day discussion in Lewistown on public issues related to efforts to create a long-term bison conservation and management plan for Montana in September 2013. FWP brought together a number of state and community leaders for a facilitated gathering that was open to the public. The general purpose of the meeting was to build trust and understanding among different interests as they candidly discussed and examined the entire planning process.
The comment deadline has passed. It was June 25, 2012.
Eight scoping meetings were held in May. Here are the dates, locations and meeting public comments:
|Date||Location & Minutes|
|May 14||Missoula - Meeting Public Comments ( 188 KB)|
|May 15||Kalispell - Meeting Public Comments ( 162 KB)|
|May 16||Glasgow - Meeting Public Comments ( 313 KB)|
|May 17||Helena - Meeting Public Comments ( 192 KB)|
|May 21||Billings - Meeting Public Comments ( 216 KB)|
|May 22||Miles City - Meeting Public Comments ( 341 KB)|
|May 23||Great Falls - Meeting Public Comments ( 203 KB)|
Bozeman - Meeting Public Comments ( 315 KB)
The following is a summary of the primary issues and concerns identified from the comments, questions and suggestions received.