Due to separate budgeting processes and lack of transparent reporting detailing expenditures, it is difficult for the public to account for how American taxpayer dollars are spent on the Interagency Bison Management Plan in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. This estimate comes from Congress' research arm.
U.S. Government Accountability Office Estimated Bison Management Expenditures (Unadjusted for Inflation) Fiscal Years 2002-2007
National Park Service: $7,258,013
Forest Service: $639,428
*Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: $7,526,576
Montana Department of Livestock: $128,977
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks: $379,295
* Figures for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service "include the agency's expenditures for operating costs as well as the funds it provides to the Montana Department of Livestock for bison operations and research activities. The Montana Department of Livestock uses these funds to pay personnel and purchase equipment used for bison management activities outside the park and to contract with Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks to conduct research on elk, pregnant bison, and the quarantine feasibility study."
Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office, YELLOWSTONE BISON Interagency Plan and Agencies' Management Need Improvement to Better Address Bison-Cattle Brucellosis Controversy (2008).
Click here for an annual look at taxpayer expenditures by agency.
In addition to American taxpayers funneling millions of dollars to several state and federal agencies behind the Interagency Bison Management Plan, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service spends millions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize brucellosis disease risk management for cattle ranchers in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. This overview does not include additional taxpayer appropriations to cattle ranchers by the Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming legislatures. For example, Wyoming appropriated $3 million for brucellosis management of wildlife and cattle in 2006, and Gov. Brian Schweitzer's 2011 budget includes $135,531 in federal funds for the bison management plan and $705,274 in state special funds to pay for Montana rancher's brucellosis herd plans.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - Brucellosis budget
FY 2002 - $10,000,000
FY 2003 - $9,000,000
FY 2004 - $10,242,000
FY 2005 - $10,356,000
FY 2006 - $10,348,000
FY 2007 - $10,506,000
FY 2008 - $9,465,000
FY 2009 - $9,584,000
FY 2010 - $9,707,000
APHIS is involved in a multitude of brucellosis projects include quarantine feasibility, testing of captured or slaughtered buffalo, fetal disappearance, brucellosis persistence, and chemically drugging Yellowstone bull buffalo to test semen. While APHIS has no jurisdiction over wildlife, the agricultural agency uses their funding prowess to funnel tax dollars that affect how states manage wildlife.
Sources: House Report 111-181 - AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL, 2010. Senate Report 110-426 - AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL, 2009. Senate Report 109-266 - AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL, 2007. Senate Report 108-340 - AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL, 2005. USAHA REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON WILDLIFE DISEASES, October 17, 2006. Governor's Office of Budget and Program Planning Budget Highlights Fiscal Years 2010-2011.