Press Release
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Update on Objectives and Alternatives for the National Elk Refuge’s Bison and Elk Management Plan
Media Contacts

JACKSON, Wyo. -The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is announcing additional opportunities to engage in the development of Updated Bison and Elk Management Plan (Plan) for the National Elk Refuge. 

In August 2023, the Service announced its intent to update the Plan starting with a 30-day scoping period that ended on August 31, 2023. During this scoping period, the Service took public comments and held public scoping meetings to provide interested stakeholders and members of the public an opportunity to learn more about the process, ask questions and provide feedback. 

Updates to the Plan seek to address newly available scientific information and changed conditions since adoption of the original management plan in 2007. New conditions include the detection of chronic wasting disease in the Jackson area. The updated Plan will also set new desired conditions, management goals, objectives, and strategies to guide future management of bison and elk on the Refuge. The Service is working closely with the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and others to update the current management plan as the Jackson elk and bison herds migrate across several jurisdictional boundaries. 

The Service and cooperating agencies have been collaborating through a Structured Decision Making (SDM) process, led by the U.S. Geological Survey, to identify management objectives and evaluate potential management alternatives of the bison and elk herds on the National Elk Refuge. These proposed objectives and alternatives will inform the development of the updated Plan and associated draft Environmental Impact Statement. 

The Service would like to update the public on these proposed objectives and alternatives and answer the public’s questions. We will be holding information sessions in Jackson at the Ordway Auditorium in the Teton County Library on May 1st at 6:00 p.m. MDT and virtually the following week on May 6th at12:00 p.m. MDT. A link to join the virtual session will be available on the project website:

We will also be holding half-day workshops for interested parties in late May or June to further understand concerns, tradeoffs, and potential ways to reduce adverse consequences associated with potential management alternatives. We are looking to hear from a diverse set of stakeholders. If you are interested in participating in these workshops, please contact by April 10, 2024. 

Proposed major milestones for the ongoing 2-year planning process include: 

  • May-June 2024: Community Engagement on Objectives and Alternatives (which includes these information sessions and workshops)
  • June-December 2024: Development of Draft Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 
  • January-March 2025: Public Comment on Draft Plan and Draft EIS
  • Fall 2025: Publication of Final Plan, EIS and Record of Decision

For more information, visit:

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