Governor signs executive order on sage-grouse protections

WYOMING – Governor Mark Gordon issued Greater Sage-Grouse Executive Order 2019-3 today—a measure aimed at improving upon the current state protections for sage-grouse. According to the Governor’s Office, the order streamlines concepts that are fundamental to sage-grouse conservation, improves its clarity, recognizes valid and existing rights, and continues to provide regulatory certainty while allowing for adaptation as new information emerges.

The Executive Order comes after a public comment period earlier this year that resulted in the submission of numerous constructive ideas aimed at improving Wyoming’s approach. Public engagement has been crucial to the success of the State’s efforts that have been in place for over a decade. The new Executive Order reflects many of the public’s comments, and incorporates substantial recommendations prepared for the governor by the Sage-Grouse Implementation Team (SGIT).

“This Executive Order shows how this administration has embraced a proven strategy that is the framework for how Wyoming approaches conservation,” Governor Gordon said. “It is impressive that such a wide array of interests understand the importance of this issue to Wyoming’s economy and our ecology and were willing to work together to build the strong foundation of this strategy. I want to thank the SGIT for their time, passion and commitment in developing recommended changes, the vast majority of which I have accepted and integrated into EO 2019-3.”

The new Executive Order replaces EO 2015-4 and EO 2017-2, previously issued by Governor Mead. It is comprised of nine appendices and is formatted in a manner to allow for amendments to any appendix without requiring the full document be amended. New guidance in the appendices provides directives for coordination and agency cooperation, data collection and reporting, and adaptive management. Technical directives remain unchanged, including habitat maps and definitions, stipulations for development, and compensatory mitigation requirements. It also retains recognition of valid existing rights and de minimis activities.

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