Wyoming's sage-grouse core area strategy: Is it effective?
mediaposted on 21.06.2018, 00:00 by Jeffrey Beck
The Wyoming Core Area Strategy was established in 2008 by the Governor's Sage-Grouse Executive Order (SGEO). The intent of the SGEO was to provide greater protections for breeding sage-grouse across the state in response to concerns about listing the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act and potential impacts to Wyoming's economy. The primary goal of the SGEO was to protect habitat for at least 67% of male sage-grouse attending leks. The SGEO limits timing and amount of surface disturbance from energy and other development within 31 Core Areas that encompass 24% of Wyoming. My lab and colleagues have evaluated the effectiveness of the SGEO using grouse telemetry data following Core Area establishment, as well as lek count and energy development data sets spanning periods before and after implementation of the SGEO. I will present findings about the effectiveness of the Core Area strategy for breeding and wintering grouse. I will further examine spatial and seasonal effects of Core Areas as well as responses of grouse and development following implementation of the Core Area Strategy within the Wyoming and Powder River basins. I will briefly discuss the role of sage-grouse as an umbrella for other species that inhabit Core Areas.