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Wyoming State Office
Release Date: 05/18/11
Contacts: Cindy Wertz    

BLM Wyoming Sponsors "Living on the Edge" Workshops

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the University of Wyoming (UW) recently sponsored two climate change workshops. Other sponsors included the Wyoming Chapters of the Society of American Foresters, Haub School & Ruckelhaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center. The workshops were held in Laramie and Cody, Wyo.

The Draper Museum in Cody hosted one of the workshops.
The Draper Museum in Cody hosted one of the workshops.
PhD. candidate Mark Lesser, one of the conference organizers.
PhD. candidate Mark Lesser, one of the conference organizers.
Dr. Constance Millar, USFS Southwest  Experimental Station.
Dr. Constance Millar, USFS Southwest  Experimental Station.
The workshops drew participants from a variety of federal and state agencies, as well as environmental groups and numerous private individuals. Over 120 people attended these workshops.

BLM Climate Change Coordinator Bob Means said, “We wanted to provide a forum to discuss some of the emerging issues of climate change, such as the potential impacts of a changing climate and the impacts on land management.”

UW doctoral candidate Mark Lesser was the driving force behind the workshop. Lesser approached BLM about participating and Means helped coordinate and line up other sponsors.

Lesser said, "I think it is vital for scientists to communicate their research to land managers and the people that are actually implementing policy on the ground. It is essential for good land management that the best and most up-to-date scientific information is being used. It is also vital that we as scientists learn from land managers about the concerns they have and the issues that they face so we can better direct our research to dealing with those problems. The workshops that I organized in both Laramie and Cody were meant to address these situations in the context of what we know about species range margins and how we should be directing our management of them."

The objectives of the workshop included:

  1. Explore the implications of climate change on species ranges in the Intermountain West. Specifically, how will species populations currently situated on range margins be affected by climate change?
  2. Explore other ecological factors that influence range boundaries and assess how those factors will interact with climate.
  3. Educate land managers on what information should be taken from species niche models and how these models should be applied in management.
  4. Facilitate dialogue on how to manage range edge populations both currently and for the future based not only on predicted climate change, but on ecological principles as well.

The workshops provided an opportunity for the various groups to network and to share ideas. With the interest generated, there could be two additional workshops next year.

Some of the participants included: BLM, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, UW, Montana State University, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming Department of Forestry, Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Conservation Districts, NGOs such as Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy, and private individuals and environmental consulting companies.

Presenters included:

  • Dr. Steve Jackson, Ecology Program Head, UW 
  • Dr. Steve Gray, Wyoming State Climatologist
  • Dr. Dan Doak, Department of Zoology/Physiology UW
  • Dr. Constance Millar, USFS, Southwest Experimental Station
  • Dr. Simon Brewer, UW & University of Nebraska
  • Mark Lesser, PhD candidate, Program of Ecology, UW
  • Eddie Bateson, BLM Wyoming, Wind River/Big Horn Basin District Manager
  • Bob Means, BLM Wyoming, Climate Change Coordinator & Forestry Program Lead

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The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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Last updated: 05-18-2011