Cooperatove Conservation Project

Greater Yellowstone Coordination Sustainable Operations Subcommittee

Location: Midwest/Northern High Plains Region: Montana Wyoming
Far West Region: Idaho

Project Summary: Sustainable operations subcommittee promotes energy efficiency and waste and emissions reductions in the Greater Yellowstone Area.
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Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park is one of the many lakes in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. (Photo Courtesy Yellowstone National Park)
Resource Challenge

The Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) covers more than 14 million acres across Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. A remote region with some of the world’s most spectacular parks, scenery, and wildlife, more than ten million seasonal residents and tourists visit each year. 

The Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee (GYCC) began in 1964 when the USDI National Park Service and the USDA Forest Service signed a Memorandum of Understanding pledging to cooperate and to coordinate management of core lands in the GYA. The USDI Fish and Wildlife Service joined the Coordinating Committee in 2002. 

Recently, the impact of human use on the region’s natural resources has come to the forefront: sustaining natural resources while accommodating millions of visitors is a daunting challenge. The GYCC created a new Sustainable Operations subcommittee to identify environmental risks, to promote sound environmental  practices, and to integrate sustainable practices into the region’s activities.

Examples of Key Partners
Six National Forests, two Fish and Wildlife Units, two National Parks, Municipalities of Bozeman, MT, Livingston, MT, Cody, WY, Jackson, WY, West Yellowstone, MT , and Idaho Falls, ID; Headwaters Cooperative Recycling, Inc., Yellowstone Business Partnership, Corporation for the Northern Rockies, and ethanol producers and consumers.
Results and Accomplishments

The Sustainable Operations subcommittee partners have worked together to build a foundation of community involvement and support that has been critical to their success.

The projects include:

  • Headwaters Cooperative Recycling, Inc. provides recycling services to more than 35,000 square miles of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho.
  • The cooperative has diverted 10,000 tons of waste from the landfill, much of it from public lands, and has built a compositing site.
  • After five years of work, a coalition of public and private stakeholders received the Department of Energy’s “Clean Cities” designation. Hundreds of public and private vehicles and stationary equipment were converted to blended fuels.
  • The large concessions and communities in the GYA were instrumental in constructing the first Montana “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED) certifi ed residence in Gardiner, MT.
  • The parks and some gateway communities are demonstrating the latest in energy production. A small hydrogen fuel cell operates in West Yellowstone. 
  • A grassroots organization, Ethanol Producers and Consumers, promotes renewable fuels and supplies ethanol blended fuels to many public and government fuel stations.
  • Yellowstone National Park received an Environmental Protection Agency grant in 1998 to investigate toxins. Because many were found in cleaning and janitorial products, the park is now using nontoxic cleaning products.

The multi-interest committee is working jointly to reduce waste, energy consumption, and emissions throughout the greater Yellowstone region.

Project Contact
Anna Jones-Crabtree
Chair of Subcommittee
Bighorn National Forest



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