Support the Development of a National Park Service Midwest Region bison stewardship strategy

Science Center Objects

Bison have played a key role in shaping the grasslands of the Great Plains for millennia.  National Parks are a major last bastion for wild herds of the national mammal and symbol of the Department of the Interior. However, even as the National Park Service aims to maintain as natural as possible ecosystem conditions within its parks’ boundaries, managers regularly make decisions affecting their bison herds to sustain the health of bison populations, plant communities that support them, and other wildlife species. To date, most of those decisions have been made at the park level and have heavily focused on this single species. A new NPS initiative to develop a Midwest Region Bison Stewardship Strategy strives to increase managers’ consideration of a broader ecological and sociological context when making bison management decisions. We guided players and stakeholders of this strategy through a structured process to determine the strategy’s objectives, consider trade-offs among those objectives, and determine the science needed to support future decision making related to those objectives.