Wyoming's Republican Gov. Mark Gordon indicated Wednesday he would review an ongoing program to protect sage grouse habitat, but he said the program's primary elements and protections would remain unchanged.

Calling natural resource-dominated Wyoming's interest in sage grouse significant, Gordon echoed the keen interest of his predecessor, former Republican Gov. Matt Mead, who worked with the Obama administration to carve out a lead role for about a dozen western states to manage habitat without requiring sage grouse to be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Gordon said he would seek public comments through April to "inform his review" of an existing sage grouse executive order, extending the comment period by the Sage Grouse Implementation Team. He said he wanted to "identify areas where we can improve upon what is already working while keeping a steady course."

Gordon said Wyoming has built a legacy for protecting grouse habitat since 2007.

"Sage grouse are an important species to Wyoming, and the state has a significant interest in seeing that the bird remains protected,” while allowing for responsible oil and gas development, he added.