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Wildlife chief’s resignation concerns conservationists

CARSON CITY – Conservationists across the state are questioning Nevada’s commitment to a plan to protect sage grouse and stave off a possible listing under the Endangered Species Act after Gov. Brian Sandoval asked the state’s wildlife director to resign this week.

Many conservationists fear the forced resignation of Department of Wildlife Director Ken Mayer represents a change in scientific wildlife management by the state – a deviation that could bring disastrous consequences, said Kyle Davis, the Nevada Conservation League political and policy director.

“Certainly one of my concerns is that this will set us back to the point we aren’t able to have success in preventing the listing,” Davis said. “Given what I know right now, he’s done an excellent job, and I don’t see how this is the right move.”

Mayer was asked to step down Wednesday after serving six years in the role.

His resignation is effective Feb. 12. He declined to comment.

Mayer is nationally known for his expertise on the sage grouse issue, so removing him from the process only adds trouble to an already fragile plan, Davis said.

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