[Federal Register: June 6, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 108)]
[Page 31339-31340]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Record of Decision for the Final Bison and Elk Management Plan 
and Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park 
Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, as lead agencies, announce 
the availability of a Record of Decision (ROD) for the final Bison and 
Elk Management Plan (Plan) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for 
the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park/John D. 
Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway (Grant Teton National Park). The 
final Plan/EIS was prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Administration Act of 1966; as amended; the National Park 
Service Management Policies of 2006; and the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA). The final Plan/EIS was prepared in cooperation with 
the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service (APHIS); the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service; the 
Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM); and the State 
of Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD). The final Plan/EIS 
describes our proposal for management of the Jackson bison and elk 
populations within their respective jurisdictions for 15 years. The 
effects of six alternatives for the management of bison and elk 
populations for the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park 
are disclosed in the final Plan/EIS and are described in the ROD. We 
adopted and plan to implement Alternative 4--Adaptively Manage Habitat 
and Populations.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information, or to request 
a copy of the final Plan/EIS or the ROD, contact Laurie Shannon, 
Planning Team Leader, Region 6, 134 Union Boulevard, Lakewood, Colorado 
80228, 303-236-4317 (Phone); 303-236-4792 (Fax); laurie_shanon@fws.gov 
(e-mail). Additionally, a copy of the Final Plan/EIS may be obtained by 
writing to: Jackson Bison and Elk Management Planning Office, P.O. Box 
510, Jackson, Wyoming 83001; Telephone: 307-733-9212, or E-mail: 
bisonelk_planning@fws.gov or by download from the project Web site: 


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton 
National Park are located north of Jackson, Wyoming. Together with the 
Bridger-Teton National Forest, they make up most of the southern half 
of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The National Elk Refuge comprises 
approximately 24,700 acres, Grant Teton National Park comprises 309,995 
acres, and the John D. Rockefeller Jr., Memorial Parkway is 
approximately 23,777 acres. The Jackson bison and elk herds make up one 
of the largest concentrations of free-ranging ungulates in North 
America. Currently, these herds number over 1,000 bison and 13,000 elk. 
The herds migrate across several jurisdiction boundaries, including 
Grant Teton National Park and southern Yellowstone National Park, 
Bridger-Teton National Forest, BLM resource areas, and State and 
private lands, before they winter primarily on the National Elk Refuge. 
Due to the wide range of authorities and interest, including management 
of resident wildlife by the State of Wyoming on many federal lands, we 
have used a cooperative approach to management planning involving all 
of the associated federal agencies and the WGFD.
    The effects of six alternatives for the management of bison and elk 
populations for the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park 
are disclosed in the final Plan/EIS and are described in the ROD. 
Significant issues considered in the ROD include: Bison and elk 
populations and their ecology; restoration of habitat and management of 
other species of wildlife; supplemental winter feeding operations of 
bison and elk; disease prevalence and transmission; recreational 
opportunities; cultural opportunities and western traditions and 
lifestyles; commercial operations; and the local and regional economy.
    The ROD provides the basis for our decision on the proposed Bison 
and Elk Management Plan. We adopted and plan to implement Alternative 
4--Adaptively Manage Habitat and Populations, as described in the Final 
Plan/EIS, because it balances the major issues and stakeholder 
perspectives identified during the planning process with the purposes, 
missions, and management

[[Page 31340]]

policies of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park 
    Under the proposed plan, assuming the WGFD's herd objective of 
11,000 has been met, and that higher numbers of elk would use the 
winter range, about 5,000 elk and 500 bison will winter on the National 
Elk Refuge at the end of the first phase of implementation. The elk 
hunt on the National Elk Refuge, and elk herd reductions as needed in 
Grand Teton National Park, will continue. A public bison hunt will be 
instituted on the National Elk Refuge and managed in accordance with 
the State of Wyoming licensing requirements and an approved refuge 
hunting plan. As herd sizes and objectives are achieved, further 
reductions in feeding or elk numbers will occur based on established 
criteria developed in collaboration with WGFD. The proposed plan 
includes an adaptive management framework that incorporates population 
management, habitat restoration, public education, and monitoring into 
an adaptive, progressive, and collaborative approach to address habitat 
conservation and wildlife population management.
    Public comments were requested, considered, and incorporated 
throughout the planning process in numerous ways. Public outreach has 
included public open houses, public hearings, individual outreach 
activities, planning update mailings, and Federal Register notices. 
Three previous notices were published in the Federal Register 
concerning this Plan/EIS (66 FR 37489-37490, July 18, 2001; 70 FR 
42089-42090, July 21, 2005; and 72 FR 5078-5080, February 2, 2007).

    Dated: May 14, 2007.
James J. Slack,
Deputy Regional Director, Region 6, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. 07-2773 Filed 6-5-07; 8:45 am]