Greater Little Mountain
Issue: Wild Lands
Partners: Muley Fanatic, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, University of Wyoming, Wyoming Migration Initiative, Wyoming Wildlife Federation
Airport Origin : Rock Springs, WY
EcoFlight flew Wyoming Wildlife Federation with local and state elected officials over Greater Little Mountain in Wyoming where leaders and sportsmen groups are pushing the BLM to develop a RMP that keeps drilling out of prime big game habitat.
The Greater Little Mountain region is a unique high desert habitat that is considered by biologists and resource managers to be some of the most sensitive fish and wildlife habitat in Wyoming. The area contains large intact tracts of prime fish and wildlife habitat and has served as a hunting, fishing and recreational paradise for sportsmen and sportswomen for generations. This unique landscape contributes to the local economy, supporting up to 225 jobs in Sweetwater County, and generating $19.1 million per year.
The BLM is updating their Recourse Management Plan and has also proposed oil and gas leases in the Greater Little Mountain Area. Concerned sportsmen and sportswomen groups urged the BLM to defer leases in the area until the RMP is completed, using the revision process to create a plan that properly balances economic, conservation and social concerns.
The Wyoming Bureau of Land Management and the State of Wyoming developed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in 2009 that agreed to no new leasing in the Greater Little Mountain Area until the RMP is complete. That MOU was provided to Department of Interior during the 2018 and 2019 oil and gas lease sales. The DOI held up that MOU agreement and has deferred all leases within the GLMA.
Local leaders are supportive of strong conservation management prescriptions for the area and are working with the BLM and other decision makers on seeing these in the preferred management plan for the RMP. Wyoming sportsmen and sportswomen have helped to hold off the expediting of oil and gas leasing and drilling in this pristine area, measuring 522,230 acres in size.