Study tests elk herd’s tolerance of coalbed gas development

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Fortification Creek elk herd roams the isolated sage brush country and steep rocky breaks of the Powder River Basin. The herd is prized by hunters for its trophy class bulls. The herd also lives in a region ripe for coalbed natural gas development.

Given the confluence of pressures, government wildlife officials have joined with the University of Wyoming and energy companies for a $500,000 study aimed at figuring out how much energy development the elk can tolerate. Biologists recently collared 39 of the animals to monitor their behavior over the next four years.

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BLM to study elk’s reaction to natural gas development

CHEYENNE (AP) — The Bureau of Land Management says it’s undertaking a four-year study of an elk herd in the Fortification Creek area of Campbell County and how the animals are affected by coalbed natural gas development.

Thirty-nine elk will be collared and monitored to determine the amount of development activity the animals can tolerate. The study will look at disturbances including traffic levels, noise and habitat loss.

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