Rep. Gosar’s Grand Canyon Bison Management Act Passes out of Committee, Awaits House Vote

For Immediate Release

Date: October 8, 2015

Contact: Steven D. Smith

Steven.Smith@mail.house.gov

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after the House Natural Resources Committee successfully passed the Congressman’s legislation, the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act, by unanimous consent attaching the bill as an amendment to H.R. 2406, the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act:

“The Grand Canyon is plagued by an invasive hybrid species, part buffalo and part cattle, known as ‘beefalo’. The ‘beefalo’ overpopulation is a problem that is causing significant damage to park resources. These massive animals are trampling park land, defecating in water holes, destroying historically significant Native American landmarks and affecting public safety on roads and trails. While the Park Service recently testified that it already had some of the provisions in my bill available for its use, the simple fact remains that it isn’t using the powers given. The beefalo population is exploding and this issue needs to be resolved now. We can’t wait a couple more years on the Park Service for a solution.   

“The bipartisan, bicameral effort passed by unanimous consent by the Committee today will protect Arizona’s greatest treasure, the Grand Canyon, in a responsible manner. The Park Service need not fear hunters and sportsmen, and continue to irrationally delay a solution. We don’t need to waste precious taxpayer money on lengthy studies and expensive sharpshooters to address the issues with the beefalo in the Grand Canyon. My bill provides an immediate solution by requiring the Secretary of Interior coordinate with the Arizona’s state wildlife management agency to implement a plan that includes reduction of the beefalo population through humane lethal culling by skilled public volunteers and hunters and also by other nonlethal means. This legislative solution is a victory for sportsmen, conservationists and taxpayers that will provide a timely resolution to the beefalo problem plaguing Grand Canyon National Park.”

Following the committee vote, Arizona Game and Fish Chairman Kurt Davis stated, “National Parks Service Associate Director Victor Knox agrees…there are too many bison in and around the National Park and they are causing a problem to historical landmarks, habitat, and native species. This is a clear problem with an appropriate and effective solution. This legislation is a testament to the fact that states are better equipped to manage issues that impact them and this solution also comes with no price tag to taxpayers. Credit goes to Congressman Gosar and his staff for the progress of this bipartisan bill in the House. I also want to thank Senators McCain and Flake for carrying this in the Senate on behalf of Arizonans and the treasured landscape and wildlife in the Grand Canyon. With our delegation’s continued efforts, this effective and thoughtful, Arizona led solution will be possible.”

Background

The full text of the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act can be found HERE.

It is estimated that the herd needs to be reduced by about 200 head to meet sustainable management levels.

The bill requires the Secretary of Interior to coordinate with the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, the appropriate state wildlife management agency, to implement a management plan for the invasive beefalo that follows all federal environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act.

The  eight bipartisan House cosponsors of this legislation include Congressman Trent Franks (R, AZ-08), Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D, AZ-01), Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA-04),  Congressman Matt Salmon (R, AZ-05), Congressman David Schweikert (R, AZ-06), Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D, AZ-09), Congresswoman Cynthia M. Lummis (R, WY-At Large) and Ryan Zinke (R, MT-At Large).

Over the last 10 to 15 years, the cross-breed of cattle and bison, the beefalo, have migrated from the Kaibab National Forest and found sanctuary inside the Grand Canyon National Park, protected from hunters.

In order to preserve Grand Canyon National Park from further ruin, the bill clarifies that bison meat is not ‘federal surplus property’ and is allowed to be removed from the park.  This act will allow hunters and conservationists to play an important role in addressing the bison population problem.

Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, stated upon introduction of Rep. Gosar’s bill that: “The proposed legislation is consistent with the best science, will prevent undue degradation of Park resources and also provide sportsmen with an opportunity to harvest an iconic American species. It will also generate funding for habitat conservation and management, which is key to our mission of guaranteeing sportsmen quality places to hunt and fish.”

A January 2, 2009 letter from more than 100 environmental and conservation groups reported that USDA and DOI spend roughly $100 million on expensive sharpshooters to address issues like this each year.

Congressman Gosar’s bill directs the Park Service to use state-licensed skilled-volunteers as part of the solution to this issue at no added cost to the American taxpayer. The tags sold for these beefalo will result in significant revenues for state and conservation coffers.  

A recent Fox News article documenting the decimation of the Bison in the Grand Canyon National Park can be found HERE.

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