South Park residents prep for public lands planning process

Tue, 09/16/2014

Bill Dvorak of the National Wildlife Federation talks during a meeting in Fairplay. Photo by Judith Kohler

FAIRPLAY, Colo. -- Public meetings on a blueprint for oil and gas development in Colorado's South Park could start as early as October.

The Bureau of Land Management expects to issue an official notice sometime in late September that it will write a new resource management plan for the district that includes South Park, about 75 miles southwest of the Denver area. The BLM will simultaneously prepare a master leasing plan for South Park to protect the area's important fish, wildlife and water resources. Keith Berger, field manager for the BLM's Royal Gorge office, said Monday that the agency plans six public meetings to get input into what the plan should include.

Berger was one of the speakers at a meeting hosted by Park County to let people know about the planning process. New leases will be put on hold while the plan is being written, he added.

"South Park is in a good place because we're starting from scratch" on the master leasing plan, Berger said.

Last year, the BLM announced that it would prepare a master leasing plan, or MLP, for South Park. The decision followed formal requests from the Park County commissioners, the town councils, area residents, sportsmen's and conservation organizations. 

NWF, sportsmen and civic leaders hail renewable energy poll results

Wed, 09/10/2014

Photo by Matt Vincent

BOULDER, Colo.  – A new poll reinforces what hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts have been saying for a while: that there’s strong support for “smart-from-the-start” energy production on public lands that conserves our fish, wildlife, outdoor recreation and great Western landscapes.

The poll conducted in 11 Western states by Peak Campaigns and released Wednesday found that voters overwhelmingly endorse responsible renewable energy development that doesn’t harm wildlife and avoids important landscapes. Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed support provisions of the bipartisan Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act that would direct a portion of the royalties and lease fees to land and wildlife conservation and local governments.

Now is the time to move forward with the legislation, H.R. 596 and S. 279, sportsmen’s and wildlife advocates said.

Sportsmen's groups, industry oppose House bill to undermine America's clean water

Tue, 09/09/2014

Photo by Lew Carpenter

By  Lacey McCormick

WASHINGTON -- Sporting groups representing a full spectrum of anglers and hunters from all across America announced their opposition Monday to the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014, which is being considered by the House today. If signed into law, this bill would jeopardize Clean Water Act protections for important fish and game habitat, including millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of headwater streams.

“From toxic drinking water in Toledo to the ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico, we’ve seen a number of serious water quality problems this summer that demand solutions. The proposed Clean Water Rule is a common-sense way to better protect the drinking water supplies of 117 million Americans and improve the habitat for thousands of species of fish and birds," said Collin O'Mara, the National Wildlife Federation's CEO and president.

Wyoming summit explores mule deer declines, ways to rebuild populations

Mon, 09/01/2014


Fremont Lake is a top concern for mule deer migration, where an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 mule deer must cross the outlet or Pine Creek in a quarter-mile surrounded by human activity. Photo by Lew Carpenter

By Lew Carpenter

A recent gathering in Pinedale, Wyo., explored the declining populations of mule deer and how to increase public support for conservation and management of the popular Western big game species.

The group, known as the Wyoming Mule Deer Coalition (WMDC), is a consortium established by Bowhunters of Wyoming, the Mule Deer Foundation, Muley Fanatic FoundationWyoming Wildlife Federationand the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. WMDC met with the Wyoming Game and Fish Departmentand other stakeholders in the hope of establishing a network of sportsmen and conservation organizations, businesses and individuals to work together to ensure the future of Wyoming mule deer populations.

“To make things happen on the ground that require high level decisions by our commission (Wyoming Game & Fish Commission) there has to be public support,” said Brian Nesvik, chief of the Wildlife Division for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, WGFD.