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October 20, 2023

Small tan and black fish underwater.
Kate Olsen
U.S. Forest Service
  • A conversation about the Endangered Species Act would be remiss without the Greater Sage-Grouse. The bird lives in 11 states in the West, with about 40 percent residing in Wyoming. Since the 1960s, data show that the total population has been declining. So, for many years, some groups have petitioned to list it as endangered. Wyoming has tried desperately to avoid that, as it could severely restrict development and energy production across much of the sagebrush landscape in the state. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caitlin Tan spoke with Bob Budd, chairman of the Sage-Grouse Implementation Team, which is overseeing the redrawing of Wyoming’s new sage-grouse map. Budd has been involved with the state’s efforts since 2000.
  • The main thing about Kate Olsen is she’s a fish biologist for the U.S. Forest Service and loves and knows all things fish. Part of her job is managing a fish that is only found in one place in the world: in a 1,000-foot stretch of stream in the Upper Green. The Kendall Warm Springs dace is a tiny fish that’s been listed as endangered for 50 years.
  • Scientists know very little about a species of stonefly that can only be found in the alpine streams of the Grand Teton Mountain Range: the Lednia tetonica. It was discovered in 2012. But as climate change slowly melts glaciers and threatens the aquatic insect's habitat, researchers are trying to learn as much as they can about the species before it disappears. Back in 2018, Wyoming Public Radio’s Cooper McKim went in search of the insect.
  • The grizzly bear is one of the more controversial species in the West. It’s listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. But some experts and landowners think the population in and around Yellowstone National Park should be considered recovered. Meanwhile, some environmentalists say that in order for that grizzly population to be fully healthy, it needs more genetic diversity. One way to do that is by allowing grizzlies from a central Montana ecosystem to travel south and breed with bears in the Yellowstone Ecosystem, called creating connectivity. But that 100 miles or so between the two ecosystems is populated with over 200,000 people. Two communities in that 100 mile swath are preparing for the nearly inevitable arrival of grizzlies.
  • Fred Lindzey and his wife Stephanie call 140 acres of farmland just west of Laramie home. Their property is full of meadows, temporary ponds, and even a small stream. Their main crop is hay, but that is not the only thing they are helping to grow. The Lindzeys are part of a small group of landowners who are helping the endangered Wyoming toad make a comeback.
  • Wyoming Public Radio’s Kamila Kudelska talked with reporter Will Walkey about the past, present and future of the Endangered Species Act, how it affects Wyoming and some of the controversies surrounding the law.
  • Grey wolves are one of the most controversial animals in the West, and how you can manage the species depends on what state you're in. Along the Colorado-Wyoming border, that friction is part of daily life.
Listen to the Full Show
  • Today on the show, the Endangered Species Act became law 50 years ago. Since then, hundreds of species have been put under its protection. Wyoming and the West are home to many of them. We’re taking time this week to tell the stories of a few of the fish, insects, and mammals that call the state home. We’ll learn about a tiny fish that only lives in a thousand-foot stretch of stream in Western Wyoming and nowhere else. A small toad that was thought to be extinct is now making a comeback thanks to partnerships between conservationists and landowners. Grizzly bears are expanding outside of the ecosystems set aside for them and some communities are preparing for their arrival. Those stories and more.

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.
Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
Suraj Singareddy is originally from Atlanta, GA, and is a rising junior at Yale University. He's currently an English major with a minor in computer science. He also helps run the Yale Daily News' podcast department, writes for a science-fiction magazine called Cortex, and likes to do different theatre-y stuff around campus. He also loves to read comics and graphic novels in his free time, and is always looking for book recommendations!
Will Walkey is currently a reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. Through 2023, Will was WPR's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. He first arrived in Wyoming in 2020, where he covered Teton County for KHOL 89.1 FM in Jackson. His work has aired on NPR and numerous member stations throughout the Rockies, and his story on elk feedgrounds in Western Wyoming won a regional Murrow award in 2021.