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Science and Innovations

Public Can Comment on Plan to Reduce North Rim Bison Herd

Ryan Hagerty, USFWS

The National Park Service has released a plan to reduce the number of bison on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, they’re trampling wetlands and archaeological sites.

The plan proposes reducing the herd to less than 200 animals within the next five years. Some bison would be captured and relocated, others killed by trained volunteers.

Park superintendent Chris Lehnertz estimates the herd is 600 animals right now. "And that’s just way too many," she says. "Bison are big, bison have a big footprint, and a bison wallows wherever it wants. What we don’t want is to have that number of bison in the park who can damage our wetlands, the seeps and springs, meadows, the cultural resources, archaeology."

The plan did not analyze eliminating the herd entirely. It also dismissed the idea of public hunting within the park, which Lehnertz says is prohibited by federal law.

The public can submit comments for the next two weeks.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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