Governor Matt Mead is asking Wyoming lawmakers to budget $10 million over the next two years to free up federal and private matching funds to purchase conservation easements on private ranches in Wyoming in sage grouse areas. The request is an attempt to keep the bird off of the endangered species list.
There are a half million Sage Grouse in the U.S., and about half that number are in Wyoming in areas that are currently being drilled for oil and gas. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar met with representatives from 10 western states that included Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. State Senator Bruce Burns talks about a recent change made in Washington that could present a problem in regards to keeping the bird of the endangered list.
Last year the feds announced that sage grouse deserve protection under the federal Endangered Species Act, however, they held off listing them because other species were of more immediate concern. A final determination whether to list them is due by late 2015.