Goertel new BLM State Range Lead, Cagney moves to Lander officeWritten by Heather Hamilton
Mark Goertel has been in Wyoming for just over a month, and during that time he’s been familiarizing himself with the state and the issues he will face as the new BLM State Range Lead.
“My experience in the BLM has provided me with a good foundation for my work here in Wyoming and with being able to provide input and information,” says Goertel.
A North Dakota State University graduate, Goertel received a bachelor’s degree in zoology followed by a master’s in Animal and Range Science. He spent one year as a contract employer for the BLM in Oregon and also worked for the National Forest Service in Oregon for over two years in the Ochoco Forest.
For the last five and a half years Goertel has been in Butte, Mont. working as a Rangeland Management Specialist. He mentions that while he has spent time in and around Yellowstone, he is ready to see other areas of Wyoming as well. “I’m looking forward to spending time on the ground, seeing the grazing allotments and what things look like,” he adds.
As the State Range Lead, Goertel’s primary responsibilities will be providing direction to field offices and range programs in areas of regulation and policy. He will also act as an intermediary between the state and federal government and Wyoming field offices.
“When we get new policies or regulations from Washington D.C. I’m the middleman that presents the information to field offices and helps them implement the changes,” says Goertel.
At this time Goertel says he is focusing on learning the issues unique to Wyoming and becoming familiar with all facets of the job to determine what the big issues are and what needs to be addressed.
A major issue Goertel has already been working on is the sage grouse and he’s bringing himself up to speed so he can be as helpful as possible. Utilizing working groups as a tool is one thing he says is helping the BLM manage the sage grouse.
“An advantage I had when I became the State Range Lead was that I had worked in Rock Springs for 10 years and Worland for seven,” explains former State Range Lead Jim Cagney, adding that while Mark doesn’t have that he’s a good man and he’ll do a great job.
Cagney has transitioned to Field Manager for the Lander Field Office, which he describes as a great professional opportunity.
“There are a lot of grazing issues in Lander and I look forward to addressing them,” says Cagney.
Two major local issues Cagney is facing include two very substantial natural gas fields and some prime segments of the Oregon Trail that are in conflict with wind farms from a visual perspective.
“We need the electrical energy desperately, but protection of the prime Oregon Trail segments is of great importance as well,” explains Cagney.
In addition to local issues, Cagney says he is also moving the resource management plan forward. He explains that right now the description of range of alternatives is complete and the next step is writing an impact analysis for each alternative. Following that will be the selection of a preferred alternative and an impact analysis of the preferred alternative. The final package will be put into a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and released to the public for comment by the fall of 2010.
“I started out as a range manager and I miss that already. It’s not that I don’t get to work in the range program since we have a lot of range issues, but I don’t get to do discussions at a rancher’s kitchen table over a cup of coffee and I miss that,” says Cagney.
“My experiences have been that people are very friendly here and I’m looking forward to working with everyone and getting to know Wyoming,” concludes Goertel.