Last week, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum to slow down the loss of wildlife habitat to human development. Governor Mead’s Natural Resources Policy Advisor, Jeremiah Reiman says the memo took Western states by surprise.
“We do share frustration that it was developed without input from many of us.”
But he does hope the feds borrow from Wyoming’s approach to the greater sage grouse, which didn’t just seek to protect the bird, but its entire habitat.
“As we’ve developed our mitigation strategies here,” he says, “we’re hopeful that those will be the framework, that they will be recognized as a positive example of what should be pursued.”
Richard Garrett with the Nature Conservancy in Wyoming says landscape-wide protections is also the goal of the president’s memo.
“To try to protect habitat in a very positive way, and, as the memo describes, at the very least with no net loss but ideally with a net gain in terms of habitat.”
The memo also encourages private companies to set up so-called conservation banks to allow developers to buy credits to offset any habitat impacts they might cause.
“A developer then would buy credits within that conservation bank and apply those as they develop a leasehold,” Garrett says.
He says Wyoming is in a good position to benefit from conservation exchanges because there is still a lot of healthy wildlife habitat left in the state.