FWP proposes rule amendments in response to recent audit on brucellosis management

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is proposing several amendments to existing administrative rules addressing risk management of disease transmission between elk and cattle.

The proposed changes are in response to a legislative audit last year on FWP’s brucellosis-related management efforts. The audit recommended FWP define its “responsibilities to provide assistance, landowner eligibility to receive assistance, and additional guidance to consistently implement and document brucellosis response actions.”

The administrative rule changes include a definition of “disease,” management hunts to disperse elk, and how existing elk license types may be used in disease risk management.

A public hearing on the propose rule amendments will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 at the FWP regional office, 1400 S. 19th Ave. in Bozeman. Comment on the proposed rule will be taken until Sept. 22.

Brucellosis is a disease common in wild elk and bison in Montana around the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. The disease, which can cause female elk, bison and cattle to abort their calves, can be spread between the three species. The Montana Department of Livestock has established a designated surveillance area around Yellowstone to more closely monitor for the disease in cattle. 

In 2013, FWP established the brucellosis citizen-working group to advise the agency on elk management guidelines and the interaction between elk and cattle in areas with brucellosis. The group’s recommendations were ultimately endorsed by the commission and are now implemented through annual brucellosis work plans, which includes elk hazing, limited fencing, and special hunts where necessary to reduce the risk of transmission between elk and cattle.
 

Comments on the proposed rule can be submitted to Quentin Kujala, Fish, Wildlife and Parks, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Montana, 59620-0701; or by e-mail at qkujala@mt.gov.

Poll

Where is your favorite place to go camping in Central Montana?