The illustrated adventures of bison

  • Watercolor of a bison

    David Hesker, NPS
  What weighs 4 pounds, boasts stunning watercolor illustrations of wildlife, and purports to regulate brucellosis in free-ranging bison? The new 400-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Interagency Bison Management Plan for the State of Montana and Yellowstone National Park, of course. The statement, a collaboration by the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the state of Montana, considers seven alternatives, from slaughter at the park borders to a near restoration of historic bison range. The agencies prefer the economy-friendly plan of maintaining the herd at the current low level of about 2,000. They say a smaller herd will decrease migration and the possible spread of brucellosis into Montana ranchland. However, the agencies admit that this approach will harm threatened predator species such as the bald eagle, grizzly bear and gray wolf. The proposal to continue killing bison has drawn criticism from David Dittloff of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, who stresses that science has never documented brucellosis transmission from wild bison to cattle. To read the executive summary, visit the National Park Service Web site at Send comments until Oct. 16 to Bison Management Plan EIS Team, National Park Service - Sarah Bransom, DSC-RP, P.O. Box 25287, Denver, CO 80225-0287 (303/969-2310).

*Taffeta Elliott

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