Sublette County Com- missioners and about 70 members of the public gathered Saturday, Feb. 1, for a lis- tening session on Gov. Mark Gordon’s mi- gration corridor Executive Order.
Pinedale was one of four one-hour stops throughout the state. All five Sublette County Commissioners joined the governor in addition to Brian Nesvik, director of Wyoming Game and Fish, and Renny MacKay, senior policy advisor for the governor.
A draft of the order was released in December. It contains many of the recom- mendations released by the Governor’s Migration Corridor Advisory Group, which met publicly three times in 2019. These include changes to the process to officially designate a corridor, establishing local working groups for corridors considered for designation and a requiring actively engagement with landowners prior to corridor designation.
Gordon said Saturday the Executive Order, while not perfect, protects the wildlife that Wyoming residents appreci- ate while ensuring economic development continues.
Commissioner David Burnett said he attended all of the Migration Corridor Advisory Group’s meetings and he was impressed by the diversity of the people represented and that they were able to come to a conclusion on recommendations.
Commissioner Joel Bousman said he felt the Executive Order protects the interests of landowners and industry and ensures eco- nomic diversity.
Commissioner Mack Rawhouser said he felt additional fences added between Big Piney and LaBarge had already saved tons of deer and additional protections for wild- life stopovers would contribute even more.
In Pinedale, several representatives for Citizens United for Responsible Energy Development spoke of concerns about the pronghorn herds’ historic low numbers.
Others representing industry said the overpasses that have been built between
Daniel and Pinedale are a good start. With less activity in the gas field and low prices, now is the time to address so mitigation corridor issues do not hold up future oil and gas development.
Others said the use of directional drill- ing has made it much easier to not disturb the corridors because it is now technically feasible to avoid surface occupation.
One landowner said he wanted to ensure the Executive Order does not negatively
impact or restrict private property owners. Mike Henn, general manager for the Sublette County Conservation District, said a team approach was used to combine resources and build 110 miles of fence. He
added agriculture lands benefit wildlife. Advisory group member Maxwell Lud- ington said he stands by the recommenda- tions and he felt it is key local residents rather than governmental entities play the primary role in determining what happens in the corridors.
Lisa McGee, executive director for the
Wyoming Outdoor Council, shared an ex- perience of a field trip with youth who be- came aware of the mule deer as a special resource that should remain intact.
The Executive Order acknowledges that Wyoming has the longest intact mule deer and pronghorn antelope migration cor- ridors and the importance to maintain vi- able ungulate populations. The order also acknowledges the value of the corridors to Wyoming residents and the multiple uses, economic benefits and jobs provided by the natural resources in those areas.
The Executive Order was developed preclude additional actions or regulations by agencies managing those areas. The order designates the Sublette Mule Deer, Baggs Mule Deer and Platte Valley Mule Deer migration corridors and designates a pro- cess for future corridors to be established.
The 14-page document is available for review at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0 B9TtB8ZNXJJWSU5UcEZGUXpNWG5 UZ3l6NmZybzNfVHl1R3Vz/view.