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Prairie dogs endangered in WY?

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Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
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northwestern South Dakota
From the Billings Gazette:

Wyo. Game and Fish looks to future with wildlife plans, strategic plan

ROCK SPRINGS -- It's time for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to think big.

Gov. Dave Freudenthal has asked the department to submit a draft strategic plan by Sept. 1, with the goal of having a finalized version completed a year later.

Meanwhile, the department also scheduled public meetings across the state to present its conservation strategies for "species of concern" -- mostly nongame animals whose populations are in decline. A total of 278 species in Wyoming were identified as having the greatest conservation needs, including sage grouse, black-tailed prairie dogs, trumpeter swans and lynx.

The federal government provides hundreds of thousands of dollars to states to help preserve those species, but the states have to have specific plans for doing so. The state must file its plans with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Oct. 1 or it will have to repay an estimated $2 million in grants and might lose out on future grants.

"Anybody with an interest in wildlife should take a look at this," Chris Burkett, Game and Fish's strategic management coordinator, told Game and Fish commissioners last week. "It's the first step to some really great things. This should help identify where the problems are and show us where we can really focus our (species and habitat) conservation efforts."
Public comments on the wildlife conservation strategy will be accepted until May 31.

That strategy is different from the strategic plan the governor has asked for. The strategic plan will help the department identify its highest priorities for the coming years and plot a course for meeting its goals.

"We would like to go somewhat beyond the draft plan (to be submitted to the governor by Sept. 1) and spend the next year developing a really good strategy that involves everybody in the department," Game and Fish planning coordinator Walt Gasson said. "It will focus the agency on its highest priorities for the foreseeable future."

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