Impacts on Livestock Operations
To the north of
Privately owned lands that are not part of allotments include both livestock holdings and nonranch residences. North of Yellowstone National Park, the largest of the livestock operations is in the Reese Creek area on the Royal Teton Ranch. It has about 100 cow-calf pairs on unallotted private land, in addition to 150 on allotted private and public land.
Altogether, publicly and privately grazed cattle to the north and west of
The impacts of brucellosis on livestock operations involve not only the area adjacent to
Under alternative 1, cattle producers near
Alternative 2, characterized by minimal bison management, would involve modification of grazing allotments on the national forest, acquisition or easement of private lands, and conversion of cow-calf operations to steer or spayed heifer production. In the short term, until these changes are accomplished, the interim plan would continue. Public funds would be required for compensating producers who agreed to convert their operations and for acquiring the title or use of the private properties. These transactions would be voluntary with fair remuneration. Nevertheless, they would represent major impacts for the producers involved. Modification of public grazing allotments could affect as many as 926 cow-calf pairs. Incidents of damage by bison would be similar to occurrences under alternative 1 until susceptible cattle were removed from the areas designated as SMAs. Afterward, incidents would be fewer, since the only cattle would be those on converted holdings. Producers near SMA boundaries would likely continue to vaccinate female calves.
Under alternative 3, testing and vaccinating would continue as under the interim plan (alternative 1) in the short term. In the long term, modifications in grazing allotments on the national forest as described under alternative 2 would reduce the need for vaccinating and testing, but within less extensive SMAs. Producers near SMA boundaries would likely continue to vaccinate female calves. Whereas about 2,019 cow-calf pairs are found within the areas designated to be SMAs under alternative 2, the smaller areas of alternative 3 contain about 895 cow-calf pairs. Moderate to major impacts in the long term for these herds would result from possible conversion to steer or spayed heifer enterprises, closure or modification of grazing allotments, and private land acquisitions. Hunting could provide a minor source of income for remaining converted holdings.
Alternative 4 differs from alternative 1 in that bison hunting would be allowed. Hunting in the
Under alternative 5, livestock operators in the vicinity of
Consequences of alternative 6 with respect to testing and vaccinating would be the same as in alternative 1 during the first years of vaccination of
SMAs under phase 1 of alternative 7 would be the same as they are now under the interim plan (alternative 1). Testing and vaccinating would continue, as would possible incidents of damage by bison within the boundaries of the SMAs. No modifications of livestock operations would occur under phase 1. In phase 2 (following acquisition of winter range north of the Reese Creek boundary), impacts could affect at least one private holding and could modify three public grazing allotments along the western side of the
Under the modified preferred alternative, testing costs would be borne by APHIS, a negligible or minor benefit to producers. Monitoring and management of bison outside the park would occur seven days a week. This and a commitment to hazing would keep property damage to a minimum. The modified preferred alternative includes many measures directed at mitigating the perception of risk, as well as efforts to educate state animal professionals on the results of new research and the effectiveness of management measures. None of these measures would result in increased costs to livestock producers. Overall, the modified preferred alternative would have a slight beneficial impact on livestock operations relative to alternative 1.
In addition to direct impacts on local producers outlined above, ranchers throughout the state could suffer from increased testing or vaccinating requirements or interstate sanctions should brucellosis be transmitted to
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.