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Task force releases final report

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

On Jan. 10, a task force on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Rock Springs Resource Management Plan (RMP), created upon the request of Gov. Mark Gordon, released their final report of recommendations, which were submitted as comments to the BLM and are now available for public review. 

With the deadline for BLM’s extended public comment period quickly approaching, the task force and the governor encourage individuals who have not submitted comments to do so before Jan. 17. 

Background information

The governor’s task force was created in response to public outcry following the BLM’s release of a 1,300-plus page draft RMP which selected Alternative B – the most restrictive alternative – as the agency’s preferred method in moving forward. 

Gordon understood recommendations made by a representative group of stakeholders would carry more weight with the BLM, so he assembled a task force representing a wide array of Wyoming’s diverse interests, including agriculture, mining, oil and gas, conservation, economic development and tourism, sportsmen and hunting, motorized access, renewable energy and utilities, local government, the Wyoming House of Representatives and the Wyoming Senate. 

Gordon charged the task force with developing consensus recommendations for revising the BLM’s draft RMP to meet the needs of Wyoming stakeholders, and the group’s process was facilitated by the University of Wyoming’s (UW) Ruckelshaus Institute, with support from the School of Energy Resources and the College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources.

In November, the task force held four public meetings in Sweetwater County to gather public input and concern, then the group held multiple working meeting to compile the information and adopt recommendations they unanimously agreed on. 

Task force report 

Ultimately, the task force’s report includes 24 agreements on a broad range of critical issues and more than 100 recommendations on specific management actions. 

These include a series of instructions – recognizing years of work by local stakeholders – to conserve the landscape around Greater Little Mountain, as well as acknowledgement of the national and local significance of the trona mining industry and protection to access and development of the Known Sodium Leasing Area. 

The report also outlines consensus-based work to bring reasonable management approaches to checkboard lands in the area; a strong public sentiment to maintain motorized recreation on BLM lands and support for management actions to ensure continued grazing, predator management and invasive species control.  

“Because the task force needed to finalize its recommendation before the end of the public comment period on Jan. 17, the collaborative process was greatly accelerated, and the task force did not address every issue they deemed important. Instead they focused on areas where they were most likely to all come to agreement,” reads the report. 

“Additionally, while many topics were deliberated on, the constrained timeframe and high bar for consensus meant some items did not make the final report,” it continues. 

Despite this, the governor believes Wyoming should be proud of the task force and the report they put together.

“I cannot thank the members of this task force and UW staff enough for their work through the holidays over the last month and a half,” Gordon states in the press release.

“Wyoming has a history of convening diverse stakeholder task force processes to find agreement around contentious natural resource issues in the state,” he adds. “This particular effort was initiated out of necessity. It was critical we amplified the public’s involvement in this important BLM planning document and shared with BLM how Wyoming, through collaboration, creates durable and quality land management policy.”

“I want to thank the BLM for their participation and extending the comment deadline to allow for this process to occur, and I look forward to the task force’s recommendations being included in the final document,” he continues. 

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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