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Black Gold is a collection of nine articles looking at specific individuals, oil fields, issues, and oil companies in the history of Wyoming's oil industry. Individually, each chapter focuses on an important item or incident in that history; together they illustrate patterns in the development of Wyoming's oil industry. The reader will come to see the important roll played by big business and the federal government in Wyoming's oil history. This roll at times contributed to, and at other times retarded, the development of Wyoming's oil industry.
Sage-grouse (Centrocercus spp.) populations have declined dramatically throughout the western United States since the 1960s. Increased gas and oil development during this time has potentially contributed to the declines. I investigated impacts of development of natural gas fields on greater sage- grouse (C. urophasianus) breeding behavior, seasonal habitat selection, and population growth in the upper Green River Basin of western Wyoming. Greater sage-grouse in western Wyoming appeared to be excluded from attending leks situated within or near the development boundaries of natural gas fields. Declines in the number of displaying males were positively correlated with decreased distance from leks to gas-field-related...
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In 2002, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory (RMBO), in cooperation with Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the Wyoming Partners In Flight group, implemented a long-term, habitat-based bird monitoring program designed to provide rigorous population trend data on most diurnal, regularly occurring breeding bird species in Wyoming (Leukering et al. 2001). Modeled after Monitoring Colorado’s Birds (Leukering et al. 2000), this program is entitled Monitoring Wyoming’s Birds (MWB). Monitoring Wyoming’s Birds is consistent with goals emphasized in the Partners In Flight National Landbird Monitoring Strategy (Bart et al. 2001) and, in addition to monitoring bird...
Categories: Publication; Tags: WLCI, WLCI Agency Report
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The northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens) is a formerly abundant frog that has experienced significant declines across its range and is considered endangered in some parts of the range but still abundant in other parts of the range. Various factors have been invoked to explain population declines in the northern leopard frog, including habitat destruction, diseases, chemical contamination, acidification, increased ultraviolet light due to loss of the ozone layer, introduced predators, overcollecting, climatic changes, and general environmental degradation. However, no one cause has emerged as the primary factor behind population declines in any area. Probably, multiple causes contribute to population...
Categories: Publication; Tags: BLM, WLCI, WLCI Agency Report
The midget faded rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis concolor) has long been considered a subspecies of the western rattlesnake (C. viridis). This document will follow this convention, although there is some discussion of taxonomic revision at the species level that would categorize the midget faded rattlesnake as C. oreganos concolor (Crother et al. 2003). Midget faded rattlesnakes are a pale brownish gray, cream, or straw color. Blotches on the body are faded, subrectangular or sub-elliptical. As with most rattlesnakes, the most distinguishing feature is the rattle. Midget faded rattlesnakes are pit vipers, with the typical heat-sensing pits on each side of the head, between the eyes and mouth, used for detecting prey....
Some ecological characteristics of 25 white-tailed (Cynomys leucurus) and 21 black-tailed (Cynomys ludovicianus) prairie dog colinies in Wyoming were compared. The size of the colonies and density of burrow openings were similar for the two species, but the number of white-tailed prairie dogs per 100 km2 and the number of hectares occupied by white-tails per 100 km 2 were 3.7 and 4.6 times greater, respectively, than for black-tails. Sixty-four vertebrate species (22 mammals, 33 birds, five reptiles, and four amphibians) were found on prairie dog colonies. The ecological relationships between prairie dogs and associated vertebrate predator species and the history of prairie dog control in Wyoming are discussed.
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One of the greatest challenges facing the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) in the 21st century will be our ability to maintain sustainable fish and wildlife populations and meet the expectations and desire of our citizens. We approach habitat conservation and management on a landscape/watershed scale based on the needs of all fish and wildlife and citizens who either enjoy and/or depend on wildlife, and the land and water resources of the State. This requires a great deal of teamwork and a broader view of our responsibilities. Addressing habitat needs and issues that seek to maintain open spaces, non-fragmented, quality habitats and the ability of fish and wildlife to utilize these areas provides an opportunity...
Flannelmouth sucker (Catostomus latipinnis), bluehead sucker (Catostomus discobolus), and roundtail chub (Gila robusta), hereafter target species, are native to the Colorado River basin and have undergone declines in both abundance and distribution throughout their ranges. Due to these declines, state and federal agencies have entered into a range-wide conservation agreement and strategy to ensure the persistence of these species in their native ranges (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources 2006) Weitzel (2002) reports that these three species were historically abundant in the Green River watershed of southwestern Wyoming. However, populations have declined in Wyoming (Weitzel 2002) and throughout the...
Categories: Publication; Tags: WLCI, WLCI Agency Report
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The dwarf shrew (Sorex nanus) is one of the smallest mammals in the world, and inhabits a variety of habitats in western North America. Very little is known about this shrew, and relatively few specimens have been collected. Like most members of Soricidae, the dwarf shrew has a long and pointed nose, small eyes and ears, and a small body. It is difficult to distinguish from other shrews and generally has to be identified by dental characteristics. The dwarf shrew occurs primarily in mountainous areas, apparently preferring rock outcrops and talus slopes in alpine, subalpine, and montane settings. However, it has been occasionally found in lower and more arid environments such as shortgrass prairie, shrub-steppe,...
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Myotis evotis (long-eared myotis), a former Category 2 Candidate, is currently recognized by several federal and state agencies as a sensitive species, in part because very little information exists to provide evaluations on population status and viability locally or rangewide. Primary threats to M. evotis are roost disturbance (especially that leading to loss or destruction of roosting structures), habitat alteration, and toxic chemicals. Roost disturbance (especially of maternity roosts and hibernacula) can take the form of direct human contact or alternation of the roost environment. Habitat alteration refers to modification of any component of the required habitat mosaic, (e.g., presence and quality...
Categories: Publication; Tags: BLM, WLCI, WLCI Agency Report
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The Brewer’s Sparrow (Spizella breweri) has significantly declined throughout its breeding range in the last 25 years (Ashley and Stoval 2004). Despite being thought of by many as the most common bird in spring and summer in shrubsteppe habitat, the Brewer’s Sparrow has been given special conservation status in several western states, including Wyoming (Knick and Rotenberry 2000). Habitat fragmentation and other processes threaten Brewer’s Sparrow populations in several ways. In this report, shrubsteppe is defined as habitat with a “…codominance of sagebrush [Artemesia spp.] and native bunch grass and moderate shrub cover” (B. Walker, personal communication). This report reviews key published literature,...
Categories: Publication; Tags: BLM, WLCI, WLCI Agency Report
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The Habitat Quality Index (HQI) Procedures Manual is a step-by-step guide to the HQI method, which is used to evaluate trout habitat in Rocky Mountain streams. Purpose of the manual is to provide guidance and standards for conducting HQI evaluations. Subjects discussed included preliminary planning, station selection and layout, equipment, data sources, habitat measurements and HQI calculations. The manual promotes familiarity with the HQI by explaining how and what to measure, as well as proper techniuqes and any useful shortcuts. Text instruction are augmented by photos and line drawings. Several examples and case studies illustrate HQI evaluation procedures.
The Rawlins Field Office area lies within south-central and southeast Wyoming (Figure 1). The main goals of our analysis of a Reasonable Foreseeable Development scenario were to technically analyze the oil and gas resource occurring within the Field Office area and to project future development potential and activity levels for the period 2001 through 2020. It is a base line scenario and thus it assumes that future activity levels will not be constrained by management-imposed conditions (Rocky Mountain Federal Leadership Forum, 2002). We have recognized current legislatively imposed restrictions that could affect future activity levels and constrained this base line scenario where those types of restrictions have...
One of the fastest growing areas of natural gas production is coal bed methane (CBM) due to the large monetary returns and increased demand for energy from consumers. The Powder River Basin, Wyoming is one of the most rapidly expanding areas of CBM development with projections of the establishment of up to 50,000 wells. CBM disturbances may make the native ecosystem more susceptible to invasion by non-native species, but there are few studies that have been conducted on the environmental impacts of this type of resource extraction. To evaluate the potential effects of CBM development on native plant species distribution and patterns of non-native plant invasion, 36 modified Forest Inventory and Analysis plots (each...
Bat conservation is a relatively new phenomenon in Wyoming. Before 1994, bats were not legally protected in the state. In 1994, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved a nongame wildlife regulation protecting several wildlife species, including bats. In 1998, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) joined efforts with other western states to develop the Species Conservation Assessment and Conservation Strategy for the Townsend’s Big-eared Bat (Pierson and others 1999). The resulting document has served as the foundation and the guiding force behind bat conservation efforts in Wyoming. The development of the Western Bat Working Group soon followed this unprecedented proactive conservation initiative....
In this newsletter the topics covered are the Science Workshop, Expansion of WLCI Boundries, 2009 Budget, LPDTs at Work, Term Easements/Leases, and Catching up to Wind Development.
Categories: Publication; Tags: WLCI Newsletter
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The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) first developed a stream classification system in 1961. The inaugural system was intended to identify and rank the most important coldwater recreational fisheries to the State. Over time the system was also used to assess the relative potential impacts of proposed development projects to streams. The system also was adapted as one component in a land use management program to assess the relative value of properties being considered for acquisition by WGFD. The stream ranking protocol was periodically modified over the years. In its present form, streams are ranked using a combination of scores for productivity, accessibility and esthetics. In recent years, fisheries...
Colorado is the only state in Region 2 in which significant populations of Abert’s squirrels (Sciurus aberti) exist. Populations of the squirrel have fluctuated widely over the past 100 years, but the species’ viability does not appear to be threatened, nor is the species in danger of extinction at a landscape or forest level anywhere in Colorado. It is normal for the abundance of Abert’s squirrels to vary greatly and frequently due to weather conditions and food supplies. Numbers change over longer periods with forest management practices that alter squirrel habitat condition. Large wildfires have eliminated squirrels and squirrel habitat over vast areas, but such losses do not threaten the species’ viability in...
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The pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis) is the smallest of any North American rabbit species. It was first described as Lepus idahoensis in 1891 by Meriam (Meriam 1891). It is endemic to sagebrush habitats in the Great Basin and adjacent intermountain areas and typically occupies tall and dense sagebrush patches. Pygmy rabbits are dietary specialists on big sagebrush. They are considered a keystone species in big sagebrush communities because they don’t thrive in habitats dominated by other shrub species, they exhibit a unique fossorial behavior, other species of vertebrates and invertebrates use their extensive burrow system, and they provide a reliable food supply for terrestrial and avian predators...
Categories: Publication; Tags: BLM, WLCI, WLCI Agency Report
In this newsletter, the topics covered included Sommers-Grindstone Project, Executive Committee Meeting, the Conservation Action Plan, Spreading the WLCI Message, and Stimulus Funds at Work.
Categories: Publication; Tags: WLCI Newsletter


map background search result map search result map Species Assessment for Western Long-Eared Myotis (Myotis Evotis) in Wyoming Habitat Quality Index Procedures Manual Species Assessment For The Northern Leopard Frog (Rana Pipiens) In Wyoming Modification of The Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s System For Classifying Stream Fisheries Addendum to Monitoring Wyoming's Birds, 2002-2004 Final Report Species Assessment for Dwarf Shrew (Sorex Nanus) in Wyoming Species Assessment for Brewer's Sparrow (Spizella Breweri) in Wyoming Species Assessment For Pygmy Rabbit (Brachylagus Idahoensis) In Wyoming Strategic Habitat Plan Annual Report - 2007 Strategic Habitat Plan Annual Report - 2007 Species Assessment for Western Long-Eared Myotis (Myotis Evotis) in Wyoming Habitat Quality Index Procedures Manual Species Assessment For The Northern Leopard Frog (Rana Pipiens) In Wyoming Modification of The Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s System For Classifying Stream Fisheries Addendum to Monitoring Wyoming's Birds, 2002-2004 Final Report Species Assessment for Dwarf Shrew (Sorex Nanus) in Wyoming Species Assessment for Brewer's Sparrow (Spizella Breweri) in Wyoming Species Assessment For Pygmy Rabbit (Brachylagus Idahoensis) In Wyoming