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Protections Considered for Small Sage-Grouse Population

JACKSON, WY - Federal biologists are working to ensure the survival of a small group of sage grouse that inhabit the Gros Ventre river drainage, even though it only involves a few dozen of the large birds.

Bridger-Teton National Forest biologists are asking the Forest Service’s regional office to pay for seven projects designed to aid the endangered birds.

The proposed projects include rangeland restoration that will convert smooth grass pastures to native sagebrush and the closures of roads that border sage grouse breeding sites. Changes to winter travel regulations are also being considered, including areas for snowmobile and hiking.

Wildlife biologist Kerry Murphy said another project includes a 160-acre habitat restoration plan that’s being considered at the Dew Place/Goosewing Ranch.

To reduce bird strikes, fencing would be removed or flags posted.

Only two small sage grouse habitats are known to exist in the Gros Ventre, although a 2015 assessment found a near-record number of birds.

Wildlife officials say Wyoming has more sage grouse than most other states, but only about 1 percent of them are located in the Snake River drainage and a small number stay near the Gros Ventre.

Article courtesy of the Casper Star Tribune.

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