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November 17, 2006
Contact: Steven Hall

BLM Pinedale limits industry exceptions to winter wildlife stipulations

The Bureau of Land Management Pinedale has limited exceptions to big game winter wildlife stipulations in the Pinedale area following a BLM assessment of range conditions and input from the Wyoming Game and Fish Dept.

To date, 13 exceptions to big game critical winter range have been granted, most for 10 days or less. These short-term exceptions typically involve completing production activities and include mitigation too lessen impacts to wildlife. Often, these activities are very low impact, like monitoring flowback or hooking up a completed well to production.

“We’ve had numerous conversations with the energy industry to ensure they understand that given the range conditions and input from the Wyoming Game and Fish Dept., we will limit the number and duration of exceptions to winter wildlife stipulations this year,” Pinedale Field Manager Dennis Stenger said.

“We’ve tried to limit granting exceptions to short-term timeframes and only in areas where we will see less impact to wildlife. These exceptions are driven by making a common-sense determination on whether it makes sense to grant a short term waiver to complete a well or complete operations prior to shutting down for the winter,” Stenger said.

The BLM uses a variety of stipulation on mineral leases to protect other natural resource values, like wildlife habitat, riparian areas, and threatened and endangered species, to name a few. Exceptions are granted at the BLM’s discretion based on staff recommendations. These staff recommendations may include input from wildlife biologists, hydrologists, and petroleum engineers, to name a few. These decisions are also based on input from other agencies like the Wyoming Game and Fish Dept.

A complete list of exceptions and conditions of approval to lessen impacts to wildlife can be found on the web at www.wy.blm.gov/pfo/wildlife/wild_2006_2007.htm .