Losing Ground

Wildlife and Energy Development in the Powder River Basin

11-17-2015 // NWF

The iconic game species of the American West are in perilous decline, as migratory animals lose ground to energy development and habitat destruction in Southeast Montana and Northeast Wyoming.  Sage-grouse, mule deer, and pronghorn are facing decreasing herd sizes and downward long-term population trends, which threaten the continued viability of these species in the coming decades.

Bountiful wildlife populations are a major part of the cultures and economies of Montana and Wyoming. Deterioration in habitat quality associated with energy development can negatively affect wildlife populations and, in turn, impact hunters, wildlife-watchers, and the tourism industry as a whole, which brings millions of people and billions of dollars to the region every year.

Losing Ground, a report commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Resources Defense Council analyzes trends in population and hunting opportunities for mule deer, pronghorn antelope, elk, and greater sage-grouse.

As development continues to destroy wildlife habitat, pronghorn, mule deer, elk, and Sage-grouse will be forced to exist on less and lower quality land. Continued, unconstrained energy exploration, development, and production throughout Montana and Wyoming will lead to further declines in game populations and overall health as well as reduced hunting opportunities.


For more information, download the full report: Population Status and Trends of Big Game and Greater Sage-Grouse in Southeast Montana and Northeast Wyoming (PDF)


                     Pronghorn Migration photo by Joel Berger


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Related Resources
Gulf Wildlife at Risk
NWF Reports