Governor Matt Mead said that Wyoming has an approach for managing sage-grouse that balances development and conserving the species. Today, Governor Mead met with the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and representatives of other western states. This was to discuss Wyoming's Sage-Grouse Core Area Protection strategy and other state-led efforts to keep the sage-grouse from listing under the Endangered Species Act.
"The suggestion was that the western states with sage-grouse and sage-grouse habitat should come together and share ideas and to discuss habitat and population concerns," Governor Mead said. "The goal of the Endangered Species Act is not to add to the list, but to protect the species so they never make it to the endangered species list."
Attendees of today's meeting discussed developing a working agreement. Such an agreement would put in place conservation actions and commitments to meaningfully address both the continued viability of the sage-grouse and the need of westerners to enjoy multiple uses of their land and have reasonable predictability regarding regulatory requirements.
In Wyoming if the sage-grouse is listed it could impact ranching, oil and gas development and recreation. "Partnering with private industry, agriculture and the federal government has allowed us to balance conservation of the sage-grouse with development and job creation while keeping the bird from being listed," Governor Mead said.
At a news conference following the meeting Secretary Salazar thanked Governor Mead and Wyoming for leadership on sage-grouse conservation. "We see Wyoming as a template for how we address the challenges sage-grouse is facing, not only in Wyoming, but across the West."
In June Governor Mead signed the Sage-Grouse Core Area Protection Executive Order. It updated an Order signed by Governor Freudenthal providing more flexibility for management in the core areas. In August Secretary Salazar recognized Wyoming for its effort to keep sage-grouse off of the endangered species list with a Partners in Conservation Award.