Wyoming's Sage Grouse Protections Get An Update

Aug 23, 2019

Credit Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Sacramento, US

Gov. Mark Gordon has signed a new executive order outlining the state's sage grouse protections. The new order reaffirms previous executive orders, clearing up some of the language.

Conservation advocate with the Wyoming Outdoor Council John Rader said the new executive order reaffirms previous orders on the state's commitment to the sage grouse core area protection strategy.

He said Gordon's executive order is good for sage grouse in the state, but federal agencies need to do their part in protecting the bird.

"We're concerned that the [Bureau of Land Management] is not prioritizing oil and gas leasing outside of core sage grouse habitat and so that conflicts with the core area protection strategy that's established in the [executive order]," Rader said.

Rader said that it's important to protect sage grouse because it's a symbol of the West.

"It's an indicator species for sagebrush habitat. The state of the sage grouse is indicative of the state of the ecosystem and all of the other species that rely on it," he said.

Rader said the only addition to the executive order the Outdoor Council would like to see is a clear policy for recording ambient noise levels near sage grouse areas. He said ambient noise levels need to be recorded properly because noise cannot exceed 10 decibels over background noise near leks during sage grouse breeding season.

This article has been update to clarify rules on noise levels near leks.