In a world where wild, open spaces are rapidly disappearing, Wyoming is unique.
We still have rugged, awe-inspiring public lands to explore. We have vast stretches of undeveloped land where mule deer, elk, and pronghorn migrate freely and where nearly half of the world’s Greater sage-grouse live, and we have rivers and streams that support world-class native trout. The Wyoming Outdoor Council works to ensure the sustainability of wildlife habitat today and far into the future.
Elk, mule deer, pronghorn, and dozens of other species need intact habitat to survive. That’s why we advocate for crucial big game winter range and seasonal habitats such as migration corridors and stopover sites. Working with partners, we’re seeking long-term safeguards for the 150-mile Red Desert to Hoback mule deer migration corridor—the world’s longest. We’re also urging the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to designate and protect other known corridors around the state.
This week marks the second time the BLM will lease parcels inside the Red Desert to Hoback mule deer migration corridor for oil and gas development. If the first lease sale, in September 2018, is any indication, parcels will go for as little as $2 per acre. A third lease sale is scheduled for March.
Time is running out.
We must act now to defend this world-renowned corridor and other habitat big game herds rely on for survival.
The majority of Wyoming citizens do not support oil and gas leasing inside migration corridors. The fact is, if we care about the future of our mule deer herds, we should not be leasing here today.
The increasing body of science from research in Wyoming shows that mule deer stick to their migration routes more than other big game do, and that they cannot adapt their migration strategy to avoid energy infrastructure and other human disturbance.
And once migrations are disrupted they may never be restored. Once we fragment and develop stopover sites and winter range, we can’t make more of it. If we want to ensure Wyoming’s mule deer herds stay viable well into the future, we need to challenge oil and gas leasing in their most vital habitats now.
Multiple use of our public lands means identifying the highest and best uses on any given acre. It means making informed decisions about where oil and gas development should happen and where it shouldn’t. The science is clear: if we value Wyoming’s mule deer, their migration corridors should not be leased.
Wyomingites need to come together to stand up for our muleys.
Let Governor Gordon know you are concerned.
Throughout the end of February, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will hold five public meetings on migration corridors to discuss and take public comment on the risks, opportunities, and other concerns regarding Wyoming’s big game migrations.
WGFD Regional Office
351 W Astle Ave.
Topic: Sublette and Baggs mule deer, and Sublette pronghorn migrations
South Lincoln Training & Events Center
Topic: Wyoming Range mule deer, and Sublette pronghorn migrations
Star Valley Community Center
107739 Highway 89
Topic: Wyoming Range mule deer migration
Pinedale Library, Lovatt Room
155 S Tyler Ave.
Topic: Sublette pronghorn, and Wyoming Range migrations
Platte Valley Community Center
210 W Elm St.
Topic: Platte Valley mule deer migration
For more information about these public events, visit the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s website.
Wyoming is the biological and political epicenter of both the historic effort to protect the Greater Sage-grouse and its habitat, and the current effort to defend these conservation measures. With its tens of millions of acres of sagebrush habitat, Wyoming is home to almost 40 percent of the world’s Greater sage-grouse. Several years ago, Wyoming charted a collaborative and science-based path forward—identifying sage-grouse “core areas” where development would be limited. Neighboring states largely adopted Wyoming’s model, as did the Bureau of Land Management. These actions averted listing of the bird under the Endangered Species Act. But this presidential administration’s stated priority of “energy dominance”—which has resulted in the BLM fast-tracking leases on public lands, increased drilling in sage-grouse core habitat, and a lack of agency accountability—greatly threatens that habitat, along with the hundreds of species that rely on it. The Outdoor Council is playing a leading role to ensure conservation measures remain in place.
Much of our work results in sustained or better habitat for fish. From finding solutions to avert 136-gas wells from being drilled at the headwaters of the wild and scenic Hoback River, to working with anglers in Saratoga to address municipal waste in the North Platte, a blue-ribbon fishery, to efforts with Brooks Lake Lodge to clean up its antiquated sewage lagoons to help ensure we never see a repeat of the fish die-off that happened in 2008 downstream, the Outdoor Council is a leading voice for clean water and healthy fisheries. Today we’re working to ensure proposed oil and gas development in Colorado River cutthroat trout habitat in the South Cottonwood drainage of the Wyoming Range only goes forward with rigorous safeguards.
LATEST BLOGS, NEWS, & ACTIONS
Wyoming has been in the world spotlight since the discovery of the longest known mule deer migration, which runs 150 miles between the northern Red Desert and the Upper Hoback. That such an ancient migration still exists — despite roads, fences, housing, energy...read more
These past few months, we've been asking the state to urge the Bureau of Land Management to take a more precautionary approach to oil and gas leasing in migration corridors until legally binding wildlife protections can be put into place. New and existing science...read more
That’s why the Wyoming Outdoor Council is closely examining plans to expand uranium mining in prime sage-grouse habitat in the remote Great Divide Basin in south-central Wyoming. Recent mining activities here have already “moderately” degraded the habitat, and a proposal to expand the mining operation would nearly double the area already disturbed.read more