Alternative 2: Minimal Management
The purpose of this alternative is to restore as near-natural conditions as possible for bison, including a small portion of their historic nomadic migration patterns. The area outside
In each alternative, including alternative 2, many changes, such as land acquisition, changes in cattle operations, and a safe and effective bison vaccine, are described. Each of these involves some unknowns, as well as time to implement. Therefore, until these changes were in place, relevant management tools in the interim plan would remain in effect. The description below assumes these changes have been made. Since completion of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, the federal Departments of the Interior and Agriculture and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation teamed in February and again in August 1999 to purchase lands and conservation easements totaling 6,131 acres between the Reese Creek boundary and
The primary means to minimize the risk of disease transmission would be changes in cattle operations in the SMAs. This alternative would provide for lethal control of bison only in cases where human safety was in immediate danger, on private property at the request of the landowner, or outside the SMA border. Bison would not be captured or slaughtered by agencies. A key tool available to restore natural conditions and help control bison distribution would be the closure (e.g., discontinuing grooming) of winter groomed roads in
In addition to leaving road segments ungroomed, the agencies would maintain boundary lines through hazing and shooting. Landowners could request bison on their property be removed, or could shoot them with permission of the Montana Department of Livestock. Cattle operators on private lands inside designated SMAs might be offered incentives to remove susceptible (breeding) cattle, or grazing rights, easements, or property in bison winter range might be purchased from willing sellers to remove cattle altogether. In addition, public grazing allotments might be modified to accommodate bison.
Did You Know?
There were no wolves in Yellowstone in 1994. The wolves that were reintroduced in 1995 and 1996 thrived and there are now over 300 of their descendents living in the Greater Yellowstone Area.