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New Strategy Aims To Conserve More Sage Grouse Habitat

Wyoming is now home to the largest conservation bank in the country. The conservation bank program allows private landowners to permanently protect a critical habitat area in exchange for credits that can be sold to developers who plan to disturb critical habitat elsewhere.

The new Wyoming sage grouse conservation bank is in the center of the state on 55,000 acres belonging to the Sweetwater Conservancy, but could grow to 700,000 acres. Sage grouse habitat on the acreage will be maintained and even restored in some places, which is important because sage grouse are currently being considered for listing as an endangered or threatened species by the federal government.

Theo Stein with the US Fish and Wildlife Service says the conservation banking system is potentially helpful in the event that sage grouse are listed.

“What it means is that development will not come to a screeching halt in the event of an Endangered Species listing,” he said.

That’s because developers could continue to buy credits through the conservation bank that would allow them to build in sage grouse habitat.

Wyoming is home to the largest number of sage grouse of any state in the country.

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