|Background of Planning Effort||Process Milestones|
|In July 1999, the Department of
the Interior, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks reviewed
the original task directive for this project prepared by the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Park Service (NPS). The Assistant
Secretary directed the two agencies to jointly and equally fund the project
to begin in fiscal year 2000. In addition, the Assistant Secretary suggested
that the planning team consider the involvement of the U.S. Institute for
Environmental Conflict Resolution (IECR) in the planning process and compress
the original schedule into three years. IECR involvement was not factored
into the scheduling or cost estimates in the original timeline. The original
schedule was revised to include involvement of the IECR.
An interagency agreement was established between the FWS and the IECR on September 20, 1999, and the institute enlisted the services of the University of Wyoming Institute for the Environment and Natural Resources and the Meridian Institute as sub-contractors. The IECR et al. canvassed a wide range of project stakeholders via private and open meetings, as well as conference calls. The results of that process were presented to the FWS in the form of a final report entitled Jackson Bison and Elk Herd Management: Situation Assessment and Process Recommendations on September 21, 2000. That report is available through the following link: http://www.merid.org/JBE_report.pdf.
The IECR final report analyzed the range of agency and public opinions regarding desired future conditions of the Jackson bison and elk herds. It also included a variety of recommendations to the involved agencies for reducing and mitigating perceived conflict in the planning process. One of those recommendations was for an extended public involvement process including a public education component.
The first portion of this extended public involvement phase was completed in May of 2001 after 7 prescoping meetings. A prescoping report and scoping brochure was developed. The second portion of the process took place in 10 scheduled scoping meetings.
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Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution's Situation Assessment – This report was provided to the lead agencies and the public on September 21, 2000.
Notice of Intent – The Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement was published in the Federal Register on July 18, 2001.
Scoping Brochure/Worksheet - The brochure described the major issues associated with bison and elk management on the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park, as developed by the interagency team utilizing comments from individuals and organizations during the pre-scoping process. Discussions of refuge and park purposes were also included, along with the schedule and purposes for the scoping meetings. This brochure was mailed to over 600 individuals and organizations currently on the project mailing list. The worksheet outlined planning issues, with space for additions, and was handed out at the scoping meetings. Participants were requested to complete the worksheets with comments on the issues described, suggestions for additional issues, and identifications of additional individuals, organizations, and agencies that should be added to the mailing list or as partners in the process.
Scoping Meetings – 10 public scoping meetings were held from July 20 through August 3, 2001, in locations ranging from Jackson, WY, to Arlington, VA.
Common Ground Work Sessions - Several public work sessions to help identify the potential range of common ground among stakeholders on selected issues were held during September and October, 2001.
Development of Alternatives – Public workshops to aid the interagency team in the development of a range of reasonable alternatives were held in November and December, 2001. These dates were requested by several stakeholders in order to ensure participation by those actively involved in tourism and visitor activities until the end of hunting seasons this fall.
Draft EIS - The Draft EIS went out for agency review in February, 2005, and was available for public comment July 21-November 7, 2005. A Notice of Availability was published in the Federal Register on July 21, 2005.
Final EIS - The Final EIS was released to the public, and a Notice of Availability was published in the Federal Register, on February 2, 2007.
Record of Decision - A Record of Decision (ROD), signed by the Regional Directors of the NPS Intermountain Region and FWS Mountain-Prairie Region 6, was released to the public on June 6, 2007. Also on that date, a Notice of Availability was published in the Federal Register announcing its release.
The Bison and Elk Management Plan (Final Plan) - This document was posted on this website June 29, 2007, and is available for viewing or downloading. Compact discs are available, and a limited number of hard copies will also be available by August 2007.