The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the scope of the Bison Management Plan at Grand Canyon National Park. The focus of the planning effort will shift from development of a long-term management plan for North Rim bison to initial herd reduction.
Proposed National Park Service actions that will be analyzed in the Environmental Assessment include:
- Implementation of a suite of management tools (e.g., capture/removal, sharpshooting, and localized fencing of sensitive park resources) that would be used, in collaboration with state and federal partners, to reduce the bison population, currently estimated at 400 to 600 animals, to approximately 80 to 200 animals.
- Development and implementation of monitoring protocols to help improve understanding and to inform decisions about long-term bison management.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission believes licensed citizen hunters should be considered as a significant part of a comprehensive solution to reduce and manage the bison herd. Allowing volunteer sportsmen and women to assist in managing the bison population would take the financial burden off the taxpayer and is the most economically and logistically effective option.
How to provide comment
The preferred method for submitting comments is through the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website. You may also mail or hand-deliver your comments to the Superintendent, Grand Canyon National Park, PO Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023. Comments will be accepted through March 26, 2016.
Additional information can be found at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca_bison.
The bison herd occupying Grand Canyon’s North Rim lands and adjacent land is estimated at between 400 and 600 animals. The population must be reduced to minimize impacts to natural and cultural resources within the park. In 2014, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the NPS initiated public scoping for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to develop a long-term, coordinated approach to manage the current and future effects of bison on the park’s natural and cultural resources. As a result of the change in scope to initial herd reduction, the NPS now proposes to complete an Environmental Assessment instead of an EIS. Cooperators on the project include NPS, U.S. Forest Service Bureau of Land Management, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and Intertribal Buffalo Council.