The National Park Service is seeking public comment on an Environmental Assessment for the use of quarantine to identify brucellosis-free Yellowstone bison for relocation.

The purpose of a quarantine program would be to establish or augment new conservation and cultural herds of plains bison; conserve a viable, wild population of the Yellowstone population; maintain a low risk of brucellosis transmission from bison to cattle; reduce the need for shipment of bison to meat processing facilities to limit population growth; and provide cultural and nutritional opportunities for Native Americans.

The EA analyzes three alternatives to evaluate a quarantine program for Yellowstone bison at one or more new quarantine facilities, which could be located within Yellowstone National Park, on tribal lands, or elsewhere.

– Alternative one is no action. Bison operations would continue as they currently are with no quarantine of bison.

– Alternative two includes conducting a quarantine program within Yellowstone National Park.

– Alternative three includes conducting a quarantine program on the Fort Peck Reservation and is the Park Service’s preferred alternative.

Once comments are analyzed, a decision on whether to implement the plan will be made by the regional director of the intermountain region of the Park Service. If approved in time, the Park Service may implement a quarantine program during the 2016 bison management operations period.

The Park Service is inviting public comment and engagement on the EA pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The EA can be found online at parkplanning.nps.gov/bisonquarantine. To request a hard copy of the EA, call (307) 344-2015.

Respondents are encouraged to submit their comments online, hand deliver them to the park administration building in Mammoth, or mail them to: Superintendent, Yellowstone National Park, WY, 82190. Comments will not be accepted in any manner other than those specified above, and bulk comments submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted. The deadline to submit comments is midnight MDT on Feb. 15.