Public gleans little of PAPO budget, annual planning
SUBLETTE COUNTY – The Bureau of Land Management Pinedale Field Office, weeks ago, announced the upcoming Pinedale Anticline Project Office’s board of directors’ in-person meeting on May 31 but little more than the agenda is available to the public.
The PAPO directors also shared their role with the Jonah Interagency Office, which was financially defunct and “sunsetted.” PAPO operators pay fees each time they spud a well, contributing to ongoing funding of PAPO mitigation projects.
The PAPO board, made of state agency leaders, is set to meet at the Pinedale Field Office on May 31 at 1:30 p.m. Chair Angi Bruce, from Wyoming Game and Fish, will lead the meeting, with agency updates from Darla Potter for the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, John Lund for Game and Fish’s Pinedale Region, Chris Wichmann for the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and Jason Gay for the BLM.
PAPO project coordinator Tracy Hoover is scheduled to update directors on already-PAPO-funded mitigation projects and to present 2023 PAPO project-funding applications. Those documents are not readily available to the public, which will have a chance to comment before directors adjourn.
The PFO provided this link for the May 31 agenda and also annual planning reports, under Documents, https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/77515/510.
In years past, the PFO hosted directors, operators, biologists and the public in well-attended in-person meetings.
On May 18, BLM’s High Desert District announced the PAPO annual planning updates, including operators forecasts, will be provided only online. The comment period is set to close June 2.
“In lieu of an in-person meeting, the BLM Pinedale Field Office has made Pinedale Anticline Project Area planning updates available online. Documents typically presented during a meeting, including wildlife, air, water, operator and agency reports, are available at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/77515/510.”
The planning documents are to “include information on the following: annual wildlife updates such as mule deer and greater sage-grouse population reports and mitigation actions; annual air, water and operator updates concerning socioeconomics, air quality, water quality, reclamation, and operator development projections.”
However, by press time Thursday, the Pinedale Roundup could only locate mule deer, pronghorn and groundwater reports for 2023.
PAPO’s Game and Fish biologist Ashleigh Rhea reported that both mule deer and pronghorn have been severely depleted due to bad winter weather and disease. However, neither population is formulated to have declined enough to trigger the wildlife management and mitigation matrix going into 2023, the reports show.
In 2022, PAPO mule deer decline in numbers triggered the matrix; PAPO biologists said they would continue long-running habitat restoration and improvement projects.