The Bison and Elk Management Plan was finalized with the April 2007 signing of the Record of Decision. 

The Final Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), published in early February 2007, provided agency managers with clear goals and objectives for managing the Jackson bison and elk herds for the following 15 years. The Bison and Elk Management Plan continues to guide Refuge management decisions.

The preferred alternative in the Final Plan/EIS evolved after release of the Draft Plan/EIS in 2005, and subsequent analysis of more than 11,900 written comments and public testimony from private citizens, organizations, and other agencies. Changes included clarifying desired conditions to be achieved over 15 years for the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park, and adopting an adaptive management approach for managing habitat and bison and elk populations.

Four goals for the Bison and Elk Management Plan were developed based on the purposes of the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park, the missions of the National Wildlife Refuge System and the National Park Sytsem, and other legal and policy directives. The goals also consider input received from the public, American Indian tribes, and other stakeholder groups during the scoping phases of the planning process. National Elk Refuge goals include:

  •  Habitat Conservation: Provide secure, sustainable ungulate grazing habitat that is characterized primarily by native composition and structure within and among plant communities and that also provides for the needs of other native species.
  • Sustainable Populations: Contribute to elk and bison populations that are healthy and able to adapt to changing conditions in the environment and that are at reduced risk from the adverse effects of non-endemic diseases.
  • Numbers of Elk and Bison: Contribute to the Wyoming Game & Fish Department herd objectives for the Jackson elk and bison herds to the extent compatible with Goads 1 and 2, and the legal directives governing the management of the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park / John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway.
  • Disease Management: Work cooperatively with the state of Wyoming and others to reduce the prevalence of brucellosis in the elk and bison populations in order to protect the economic interest and viability of the livestock industry, and reduce the risk of adverse effects for other non-endemic diseases not currently found in the Jackson elk and bison populations.

Photos of both bison and elk can be found in the refuge's photo gallery.