Wyoming bucks industry pressure, protects pronghorn migration route

Mar 14, 2024

Five years after state officials hit the brakes on designating the Sublette Pronghorn Herd migration path, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has reversed course. In a unanimous 7-0 vote, the commission opted to pursue establishing protections for a migratory pronghorn population that biologists say is at “high risk” of being lost.

Jill Randall, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s big game migration coordinator, outlined how 415 GPS-collared animals studied over 20 years helped inform the agency’s recommendation to designate the Sublette Pronghorn Herd’s migration pathways during a Tuesday meeting in Pinedale. Randall presented a map showing tangled markings across the landscape where subdivisions, energy development, and other human activities have fragmented the sagebrush habitat the pronghorn need to navigate in order to survive.

While some of the oil and gas industry representatives present at the meeting on Tuesday were reluctant to support protections for the pronghorn, the agency’s recommendation was backed up by more than 300 comments the state received, of which 90 percent advocated for protecting the pronghorn herd. “It’s a lot easier to maintain habitat integrity than it is to try to restore something after it’s been degraded,” said Wyoming Outdoor Council’s Meghan Riley. Nick Dobric with The Wilderness Society also lauded the proposal, saying, “We have something really special here. A lot of other states, a lot of other communities really envy what we have for wildlife in Wyoming and this process will help us keep that.”

Podcast: Will lithium mining dry up the West?

On the latest episode of the Center for Western Priorities’ podcast, “The Landscape,” Kate and Aaron are joined by three members of the reporting team behind, Lithium Liabilities, a groundbreaking investigation into how lithium mining could affect the West’s water supply. Emma Peterson, Morgan Casey, and Lauren Mucciolo are part of a large team of editors, photographers, and reporters who worked on the investigation at the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

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Quote of the day

The era of limits is upon us. Many water managers who previously thought they had everything under control are now understanding that there are more challenges than they expected.”

Kathy Jacobs, director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions at the University of Arizona.

Picture This

Bears Ears National Monument sign with federal agencies and five Tribal nations listed

@utahpubliclands

📅 The BLM has begun a 90-day public comment period on the Bears Ears National Monument Draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. ️

The five alternatives of the draft plan provide various options on what land management within the Monument could look like. You can view details of all alternatives and provide substantive comment at (link in bio: ePlanning): https://ow.ly/UKB250QRweh

View our fact sheet on the draft plan at (link in bio: BLM website): https://ow.ly/So5Y50QRE7o

@usinterior @u.s.forestservice @mypubliclands

Featured image: Pronghorn buck. Photo: Neal Herbert, Yellowstone National Park Flickr