Casper, Wy – Wildlife biologists in Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, North Dakota and Utah have reviewed research into how oil and gas development effects the sage grouse.
They conclude that the best available science indicates that the current level of sage grouse protection implemented in oil and gas fields is not enough to maintain the bird's population.
Based on that science, the state biologists compiled recommendations on such things as well-pad densities, the pace of development and when development should occur.
Conservation groups say many sage grouse areas in the West are at risk because the BLM allows too much oil and gas development.
BLM spokeswoman Cindy Wertz says she hadn't seen the report by the five-state biologists. But she says the agency is designing management plans that allow flexibility in dealing with development and its effect on sage grouse as new and better research becomes available.