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Wind River tribes back grouse protections

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FORT WASHAKIE, Wyo. – The governing councils of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes are supporting a Wyoming plan to protect sage grouse habitat and population areas.

The tribes’ Joint Business Council adopted a resolution last month endorsing the state plan and urging the U.S. Department of the Interior to adopt the plan as its own.

Following a task force study, Gov. Dave Freudenthal issued an executive order last summer directing state agencies to protect core sage grouse areas.

The tribal resolution says there are significant core areas on the Wind River Indian Reservation but there’s been a 60 percent decline in male grouse leks on reservation lands over the last two years.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering whether sage grouse deserve protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

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