Scoping Begins for Mountain Goat Management Plan EA
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393
The National Park Service is beginning to develop a plan to analyze potential strategies for managing non-native mountain goats in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. This management plan and environmental assessment (plan/EA) would support long-term protection for the mountain ecosystem and its associated native species in Grand Teton and the JDR Parkway. Public comments will be accepted during a scoping period from November 12 through December 13, 2013.
A plan/EA is needed to address the impacts of non-native mountain goats which could include the loss or alteration of native ecosystems, especially native plant and animal communities, and effects on bighorn sheep, a native species of conservation concern. Primary reasons for evaluating management actions, which may involve potential removal of mountain goats from park lands, include: Resource damage; use of limited natural resources (habitat and food); competition with a small, genetically isolated population of native bighorn sheep; and potential risk of disease transmission to bighorn sheep.
Mountain goats currently found in the Teton Range are colonizers from herds that developed after goats were transplanted by the Idaho Fish and Game Department into the Snake River Range and Big Hole Mountains of southeastern Idaho beginning in 1969. These areas are about 20 miles from the southwest boundary of Grand Teton. Although mountain goats are native to northern mountain ranges in the western United States, including some in northern Idaho and Montana, the southeast Idaho transplant locations were outside their historical range. Within a decade, goats were occasionally seen in the Teton Range, however sightings were sporadic and the animals appeared transient.
Since 2008, park biologists have documented groups of mountain goats including nannies (adult females) with kids (young of the year) annually within Grand Teton National Park. These observations strongly suggest that goats are in the early stages of establishing a population in the Teton Range. Goat activity has primarily been concentrated in the Cascade Canyon area of the Tetons, but recent sightings have occurred throughout the mountain range.
To obtain information and submit comments, visit online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/mountaingoat. Comments may also be submitted to Grand Teton National Park; Planning & Environmental Compliance; P.O. Drawer 170; Moose, WY 83012.