The Bureau of Land Management’s Buffalo office is hoping to ensure more rigorous protections for sage grouse in the area. It’s drafted a new Resource Management Plan – or land use plan – to replace the one that’s been in place since the 1980s.
The plan outlines four alternatives. Thomas Bills with the BLM says the agency’s preferred alternative would incorporate the governor’s Core Area strategy, which limits development in prime sage grouse breeding areas.
“We’ve increased some of the protections for greater sage grouse, and we’ve increased protections for a few other resources where we felt they were needed, while at the same time still allowing for resource development use – coal and oil and gas, etc,” Bills said.
Another alternative the BLM laid out would include even more conservation measures, and a third alternative would do the opposite, and allow for as much energy development as is legal.
The BLM is taking public comments on the plan and hopes to finalize it by next summer.