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Rep. Rosendale Demands Answers From National Park Service Director Regarding Yellowstone 2023 Bison Management Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congressman Matt Rosendale (MT-02) sent a letter to National Park Service Director Charles Sams III demanding answers to challenges Montana farmers and ranchers may face due to Yellowstone National Park’s 2023 Bison Management Plan. These issues encompass a notable decline in available forage quality, the destruction of indigenous plant life, and the deterioration of the Park's riparian ecosystems “In recent weeks, my office has heard concerns from constituents regarding potential issues with the National Park Service (NPS) and the Interior Department’s 2023 Bison Management Plan,” Rep. Rosendale wrote. “These constituents have raised three major issues with the plan, which estimates a sustainable bison population of 10,000 during the summer and 6,500 during the winter.”

In the letter, Rep. Rosendale asked if NPS consulted outside range technicians, and if the reintroduction of bison aligned with the State goals for the National Park system.

Read Rep. Rosendale’s letter to Director Sams HERE.

Key Background:

  • The 2023 Bison Management Plan for Yellowstone National Park aims for a sustainable bison population of 10,000 during the summer and 6,500 during the winter.
  • As of the summer of 2022, the bison population stood at just 5,900. The Hayden and Lamar Valleys, where bison reside year-round, have witnessed the degradation of their riparian systems despite the bison population being well under the plan’s sustainability estimates.
  • A study published on February 15, 2023, revealed that bison's influence on the Northern Range has led to severe ecological impoverishment and a loss of ecosystem services provided by native plant life.
  • Overgrazing by bison in these areas has led to the proliferation of plant species that are unpalatable to bison.