Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Documents for Bison Conservation

A wide range of documents and information is available on the Fish, Wildlife and Parks website. Go to and type “bison” in the search bar. Three documents are especially important, currently, for restoration of wild bison.

The first is Background Information on Issues of Concern for Montana: Plains Bison Ecology, Management and Conservation (2011), a 158-page document by Stephanie Adams and Arnold Dood. Only 100 copies of this review were printed, so an electronic copy may be your only resource. It may be identified as “Bison Background Document” on the FWP website:

This wide-ranging review includes history, biology, diseases and genetics of bison. It discusses bison management, with examples from other states. Native American herds and private commercial herds in Montana are described. It addresses the legal status of bison in Montana and reviews the perspectives of 19 non-government organizations.

The second and third documents are the Final Environmental Impact Statement: Bison Conservation and Management in Montana (2020), and the Record of Decision for the Final EIS. Go to and type “bison” in the search bar. Click on the title – Bison Conservation & Management in Montana.

This Environmental Impact Statement reviews history, biology, management and some values of bison. It proposes and analyzes three action alternatives for bison restoration in Montana. Consequences for the human environment and for other “physical” resources are estimated. Alternatives are vague descriptions of types of land ownerships where bison might be restored. Sample costs for an intensively managed herd are estimated. There is no commitment to any herd size or location for restoration. It is a “programmatic” plan. New since the Draft EIS are chapters summarizing public comments and a long list of parameters developed by selected Montana stakeholders to guide any specific proposal for bison restoration.

Also of considerable interest on the FWP website, under “Future for Bison in Montana/Bison Future Posters” is information from an earlier, aborted attempt to develop an environmental impact statement for bison restoration in Montana. This site describes scoping activities and public comments from discussion groups held around Montana. A “draft of a draft” environmental impact statement is presented as a series of posters. Proposed action alternatives were for (1) a small demonstration herd of bison; (2) a herd of around 400 bison; and (3) a herd of 1000 bison “to meet herd size recommended by geneticists.” These alternatives were abandoned in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement described above.


Site designed and maintained by Kathryn QannaYahu