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For Immediate Release

July 12, 2013
Steve Merritt
Public Information Officer
Montana Department of Livestock

Public Asked to Weigh in on EA for Year-Round Bison Habitat

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Montana Department of Livestock are seeking public comment on a draft environmental assessment (EA) reviewing the potential for bison to occupy public lands adjacent to Yellowstone National Park year-round. A digital copy of the document can be downloaded here; hard copies may be obtained at FWP Region 3 Headquarters in Bozeman (1400 S. 19th Ave).


The draft EA evaluates several options, or “alternatives,” allowing for increased tolerance of bison in the Hebgen and Gardiner Basins. It also includes a “No Action” alternative which would result in no changes to current bison tolerance zones defined by the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP).

Prompting for the environment assessment came in part from the Citizens Working Group on Yellowstone Bison which formally recommended expanded tolerance for bison to the IBMP partners citing a shortage of habitat for bison given current populations within Yellowstone.

The alternative widest in geographic scope (Alternative B) would allow for bison to roam year-round in portions of the Gallatin National Forest near West Yellowstone north through the Taylor Fork drainage, and for bull bison to use areas north of Yellowstone National Park’s boundary in the Gardiner Basin year-round. Other alternatives focus on smaller geographic areas on Yellowstone’s western boundary or focus solely on the Gardiner Basin.

The draft EA will be available for public comment through 5 p.m. on August 13, 2013. Comments can be emailed to, or mailed to: Bison Year-round Habitat EA, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 1400 S. 19th Ave. Bozeman, MT 59718