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Yellowstone National Park

United States of America
Factors affecting the property in 2006*
  • Air pollution
  • Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Input of excess energy
  • Invasive / alien freshwater species
  • Mining
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Mining;

b) Invasive alien species;

c) Road construction.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2006
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2006**

UNESCO/IUCN mission 1995.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

On 31 January 2006, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN received from the State Party the third progress report for Yellowstone National Park following the property’s removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2003. Compared to the last report, progress was reported on the following key issues:

Mining activities:

In 2005, significant progress was made on the McLaren Mill and tailings and the Republic Smelter sites. Efforts are underway to determine whether a pre-selected site is indeed suitable as a depository for the McLaren tailings adjacent to the park. With the continued cleanup of toxic material, further improvement of water quality in the park is expected in the future.

Water quality:

The new Norris Village wastewater system will go on-line early in 2006. Construction of the Madison replacement system will begin in 2006, and smaller remaining wastewater treatment, distribution and collection facilities that are deteriorated or outdated will be replaced or updated in the future as funds are available.

Road impacts:

An annually funded programme for rebuilding existing roads in the park is expected to continue through 2017. This should correct the structural deficiencies noted in 1995. The park also obtained additional resources for the cyclical maintenance of roads including the newly rebuilt roads.

Key species:

The joint bison management plan has been implemented for the 5th year. In the last five years, the core Yellowstone bison population has been sustained between 3,000 and 5,000 animals, and efforts continue to reduce the risk of brucellosis transmission from bison to livestock. In the winter of 2005-2006, the State of Montana allowed bison hunting adjacent to the park and authorized 50 permits to be issued.

Considerable efforts continue in the park to conserve the endemic Yellowstone cutthroat trout by gillnetting non-native lake trout. Over 130,000 adult and juvenile lake trout were removed last year. Yellowstone cutthroat trout populations continue, however, to struggle with lake trout predation, trout whirling disease, and a series of years of drought-induced reproduction failures. In the autumn of 2005, monitoring efforts showed a strong year-class of juveniles that will start to reach reproductive age in 2006. However, according to an article by US National Park Service (NPS) scientists, Yellowstone cutthroat trout populations experienced a 60 percent decline in Yellowstone Lake, the fish’s largest refuge, despite all conservation efforts. The State Party has also reviewed the currency and relevance of the 1973 Master Plan for Yellowstone National Park as requested by the Committee in its Decision 29 COM 7B.22. It concludes that the Master Plan, which has been extensively amended and regularly reviewed since its initial adoption in 1973, continues to serve well as the overarching framework for park management and as the framework for the subplans which are in operation.

IUCN noted that the draft progress report was published for public comments in January 2006, but regrets that the public comment period was only 15 days. Furthermore it is noted that public comments were provided by several NGOs (annexed to the State Party report). They provided important additional information on the status and/or public perception of the key issues in the property. The NGOs expressed concern over the continuing threats to Yellowstone National Park from the New World Mining District. They further indicated that a three-year temporary winter use plan approved by the National Parks Service allows 720 snowmobiles a day into the park, despite the fact that the less than 300 snowmobiles entering the park per day at present continue to have adverse impacts on the park, especially in terms of air and noise pollution (according to recent US NPS winter use monitoring reports). Referring to a 2005 status review of the joint bison management plan, the NGOs further indicated that little progress has been made in fact in bison conservation. But they acknowledged progress made in rebuilding existing roads and wastewater facilities. According to 2005 to 2006 press coverage, the Yellowstone grizzly bear population exceeds 600 animals, and all goals of the 1993 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Plan are met. The Yellowstone bison population was estimated at 3,100 animals in late winter 2003, 4,200 in late summer 2004, 4,900 in late summer 2005, and 3,500 in late winter 2006. The recent reduction was attributed to normal winter mortality (typically at 9 percent of the population) and the fact that hundreds of bison were captured and sent to slaughter in the winter of 2005-2006. The new population estimate is still above the target population of 3,000 contained in the joint bison management plan. In March 2006, the grey wolf population in the Northern Rockies exceeded 1,000 animals, a decade after they were reintroduced in and around Yellowstone National Park. But recently grey wolf numbers fell sharply in the large Wyoming part of Yellowstone National Park mainly because many pups died. Officials suspect disease as the cause behind the deaths of many pups.

Considering all the available information, IUCN and the World Heritage Centre conclude that progress is being made in relation to most of the key issues in the property. However, it will still take time before the activities undertaken fully resolve them. It is therefore important that the State Party continues its activities and the monitoring of its activities, and that it ensures environmental impacts of activities such as rebuilding existing roads and wastewater facilities are minimized and mitigated. Furthermore, the State Party is encouraged to find a satisfactory long term solution for the winter use of the property. Having submitted three annual reports, which document the progress being made, the State Party, in its official report, questions the need for continuing to submit further annual reports, as previously requested by the Committee. Considering the overall positive progress documented in the three annual reports, a bi-annual reporting cycle for the property is suggested to the World Heritage Committee. The State Party should continue to seek public comments on its progress reports.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2006
30 COM 11B
Follow-up to the Periodic Report for North America / Adoption of Statements of Significance

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/11B,

2. RecallingDecisions 29 COM 11 A.4 and 29 COM 11 A.5 adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Noting proposals for changes to the nomination dossiers for some World Heritage properties in North America,

4. Approves the Statements of significance for the World Heritage properties in North America as included in Annex I of Document WHC-06/30.COM/11B;

5. Notes the changes to the names as indicated in Document WHC-06/30.COM/8B, and further notes the adjustments to natural heritage criteria concerning geological values, as indicated in Document WHC-06/30.COM/8D and decides to also change the name of Redwood National Park to Redwood National and State Parks;

6. Encourages the State Party of Canada to put forward extensions to Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks and Wood Buffalo National Park, pursuant to Canada's Tentative List for World Heritage Sites (2004);

7. Encourages Canada and the United States of America to submit any outstanding documentation related to World Heritage properties, as soon as possible;

8. Recommends that Canada and the United States of America continue, in cooperation with other Committee members, States Parties, the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre to explore, as appropriate, the potential for developing guidelines for management plans and principles for evaluating visual impacts for activities in and adjacent to World Heritage properties;

9. Encourages Canada and the United States of America to continue their strong collaboration and to consider how to enhance collaboration with the State Party of Mexico in matters of shared interest for natural and cultural heritage.

30 COM 7B.28
State of Conservation (Yellowstone)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decisions 28 COM 15B.122 and 29 COM 7B.22, adopted at its 28th (Suzhou, 2004) and 29th (Durban, 2005) sessions respectively,

3. Notes the State Party's efforts in addressing key issues in the property;

4. Requests the State Party to continue its efforts in addressing key issues in the property including its winter use;

5. Also requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report by 1 February 2008 on the status of key conservation and management issues in the property for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008.

30 COM 8B.17
Changes to Names of Properties (Yellowstone National Park)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/8B,

2. Approves the proposed name change to Yellowstone as proposed by the American authorities. The name of the property becomes Yellowstone National Park in English and Parc national de Yellowstone in French.

Draft Decision: 30 COM 7B.28

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decisions 28 COM 15B.122 and 29 COM 7B.22, adopted at its 28th (Suzhou, 2004) and 29th (Durban, 2005) sessions respectively,

3. Notes the State Party’s efforts in addressing key issues in the property;

4. Requests the State Party to continue its efforts in addressing key issues in the property including its winter use;

5. Also requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report by 1 February 2008 on the status of key conservation and management issues in the property for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008.

Report year: 2006
United States of America
Date of Inscription: 1978
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)
Danger List (dates): 1995-2003
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 30COM (2006)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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