The Wyoming Sage Grouse Implementation Team seeks public input | TSLN.com

The Wyoming Sage Grouse Implementation Team seeks public input

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Sage Grouse Implementation Team (SGIT) is taking proactive steps to further strengthen Wyoming's Greater Sage Grouse Conservation Plan. Governor Matt Mead's SGIT created two sub-teams to update scientific data and to make recommendations for changes to Governor Mead's Sage Grouse Executive Orders. The Executive Orders provide credible regulatory mechanisms to make sure potential threats to sage grouse are adequately addressed.

Wyoming's plan for sage grouse conservation has been repeatedly supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a standard allowing economic activity while enhancing the long-term survival of the species.

The first sub-team will analyze current the mapping of the sage grouse core areas identified in Wyoming's plan. This team will look for areas where new information may indicate changes are warranted. Changes may include areas where core areas should be expanded or contracted based on new data. This team is charged with ensuring there is no net loss of sage grouse populations or habitat.

The second sub-team will make recommendations concerning the regulatory framework of Governor Mead's existing Executive Order, which stated that it would be reviewed and analyzed prior to August 18, 2015.

Governor Mead asked for recommendations from the teams by May 31, 2015. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is under court order to either list the Greater Sage Grouse or determine that the bird is not warranted for listing, by the end of September 2015.

The first sub-team will seek public input at local meetings over the next month about the maps of the sage grouse core areas. Wyoming's eight local working groups will each hold a public meeting. Each group is composed of citizens representing various stakeholder groups interested in sage grouse conservation and associated land management issues.

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The local working groups meeting dates are as follows:

South-Central Local Working Group: February 23, 9

a.m. in the Rawlins BLM Office.

Wind River/Sweetwater River Local Working Group: February 25, 1

p.m. in the Lander Game and Fish Office.

Bates Hole Shirley Basin Local Working Group: March 3, 9

a.m. in the Casper Game and Fish Office.

Upper Snake River Basin Local Working Group: March 4, 1

p.m. in the Jackson Game and Fish Office.

Upper Green River Basin Local Working Group: March 5, 8

a.m. in the Pinedale Game and Fish Office.

Southwest Local Working Group: March 6, 9

a.m. in the Green River Game and Fish Office.

Big Horn Basin Local Working Group: March 13, 9:30 a.m. in the Cody Game and Fish Office.

Northeast Local Working Group: March 16, 9:30 a.m. in the Buffalo Fire Hall.

Anyone proposing a change to a core area boundary should provide the appropriate local working group with maps and/or written descriptions with a rationale of their proposals in advance of the meeting. These documents should be emailed to tom.christiansen@wyo.gov.

–Wyoming Game and Fish