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Wyoming released another sage grouse proposal and is looking for more public comment

Sage grouse cross the road in Sublette County.
Austin Mansell

Local stakeholders are taking another stab at sage grouse protections in Wyoming, re-drawing a draft map for the third time, and they want public input.

Wyoming is trying to prove to the federal government that it can protect sage grouse, a bird that’s long been teetering toward being listed as an endangered species. But if that happens, Wyoming officials argue it could change things like recreation and the energy and agriculture industry, because where there’s sagebrush, there’s sage grouse habitat. So, it’s a lot of land.

“External groups will likely attempt to petition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the sage-grouse as endangered or threatened,” said Bob Budd, who leads the sage grouse stakeholders. “The efforts the State of Wyoming is making through this mapping process is vital to present evidence that a listing is not warranted.”

To try to prevent that listing, Wyoming is proposing to beef up its state protections, by adding onto its already 15 million acres of protected land.

These areas have some restrictions for things like energy development. In the latest proposal reflecting recent public comment, a few areas have been removed, in the northeast and near Hanna in Carbon county.

Wyoming’s Governor Mark Gordon is asking for public comment again through September 19th. Once it closes, the stakeholders will finalize the plan for Gordon’s approval. Gordon will then submit a final map to the feds for consideration.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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