For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People
Hundreds of Yellowstone bison are slaughtered every year. This winter, 900 are slated to be killed -- almost 20% of the herd. Why?
About the IBMP
The Yellowstone bison herd is managed under something called the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP). The IBMP website has the details on what the IBMP is, bison basics, and other useful information.
You don't have to understand every detail of the IBMP to weigh in on the future of Yellowstone's bison herd, but getting somewhat familiar with it will help your voice to be heard.
Attend IBMP Meetings
Anyone can attend IBMP meetings -- here's a list of past meetings and the schedule for the rest of this year. The next one is scheduled for April 6, 2017 in West Yellowstone.
Who Are the IBMP Partners?
There are 8 partners involved in the IBMP:
- National Park Service
- USDA-Forest Service
- USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
- Montana Department of Livestock
- Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks
- Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes
- Inter Tribal Buffalo Council
- Nez Perce Tribe
Contact information for all of the partners is given below.
Help Shape the New IBMP
Right now, the IBMP is being rewritten. It's a process that has many steps, and when it's done, it will impact bison management for a long time. If you're passionate about the future of bison in America, you need to get your voice heard in this process.
The IBMP partners are currently trying come to an agreement on what kinds of alternatives will be considered in the new plan. Think of it like an initial weeding out of options: if there are 50 ideas for how we should be managing Yellowstone bison, this is where they winnow that list down to the top 3 or 4 options.
There is no formal requirement for the public to be involved in this important step in the IBMP process. This is something the partners decide behind closed doors. However, your opinion can still have an impact. You can contact the IBMP partners and tell them what kinds of alternatives you think should be included in the new plan.
Once the partners decide on the range of alternatives, each of those options will be assessed. Eventually, the public will be invited to formally comment on the different alternatives, and those comments are supposed to have a meaningful impact on the final management plan. We're probably many months away from the public comment part of the process.
What You Can Do Right Now
The IBMP rewrite process is moving very slowly. If you'd like the partners to take action -- any action -- let them know. And if you have a vision for what you want the future of wild bison to look like in the United States, you should tell them that too. Yellowstone bison are held in public trust. It's the right and responsibility of every citizen of the country to help decide how we should manage them.
Here's how to contact the key players. It's a long list. We'd recommend starting with Yellowstone, APHIS, the Governor of Montana and officials at the Montana Department of Livestock.
Yellowstone National Park
Superintendent Dan Wenk
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
APHIS is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
2150 Centre Ave.
Building B, Mailstop 3W11
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117
Montana Governor Steve Bullock
Patrick Holmes is currently serving as Governor Bullock's Natural Resource Policy Advisor. Correspondence for both Governor Bullock and Mr. Holmes can be directed to:
Office of the Governor
PO Box 200801
Helena, MT 59620-0801
(855) 318-1330 (toll free)
Montana Department of Livestock
State Veterinarian Martin Zaluksi
Board of Livestock Executive Director Mike Honeycutt
Both can be reached at:
PO Box 202001
Helena, MT 59620-2001
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Vernon Finley, Chairman
Robert McDonald, Communications Director
(406) 675-2700, ext. 1222
Custer Gallatin National Forest
Forest Supervisor, Mary Erickson
P.O. Box 130
10 E Babcock Ave
Bozeman, MT 59771
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Sam Sheppard, Region 3 Supervisor
1400 South 19th
Bozeman, MT 59718
Nez Perce Tribe
Mary Jane Miles, Chairman
Intertribal Buffalo Council
Ervin Carlson, Board President
2497 West Chicago Street
Rapid City, SD 57702