SUBLETTE COUNTY – Wildlife monitoring reports for 2019-2020 submitted to the Pinedale Anticline Project Office are also open for public review and comments through May 15, but have little new information.
The reports are by Wyoming Game and Fish and Bureau of Land Management biologists and researchers monitoring the animals in the Pinedale Anticline and in reference areas.
The Pinedale Anticline’s 2008 Record of Decision outlines how different native species would be monitored and at what point declines would “trigger” additional mitigation. The critical species are the Sublette and reference herds of mule deer and pronghorn, greater sage-grouse, white-tailed prairie dogs and pygmy rabbits.
The winter 2019-2020 mule deer counts show a 15-percent decline in the Mesa reference herd and a 14-percent decline in the Sublette herd when compared to their baseline counts in the ROD. Because both showed declines, the difference is figured at 1 percent, which does not come near the 15-percent threshold, the report says.
For pronghorn, although the Sublette herd unit declined in 2019-2020 winter counts, the Mesa herd grew slightly, which also did not meet its mitigation threshold.
The greater sage-grouse report submitted this month is dated October 2020. All but four development area leks had declines in numbers of males, as did all but four reference area leks – but the specific combination needed to trigger additional mitigation was not met.
For more about Pinedale Anticline thresholds, mitigations, monitoring and methodology or to comment by May 15, go to https://www.blm.gov/wyoming/jio-papo/papo.