Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Wyoming Conservation Partners Invested More Than $13 Million for Habitat Projects

In collaboration with many partners, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department invested more than $13 million in aquatic and terrestrial habitat projects in 2023. The projects are crucial for conserving and growing populations of more than 800 species in Wyoming for future generations.

Game and Fish recently released the 2023 Statewide Habitat Plan Annual Report, highlighting diverse project accomplishments throughout the state. Game and Fish allocated more than $4.6 million for habitat projects and was able to leverage that for more than $8.6 million from the Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resources Trust fund, federal government funds, state funds, private landowners and local conservation partners. That is equivalent to $2.86 coming from external partners for every Game and Fish dollar allocated. Through these funds, Game and Fish was able to execute 237 projects in 2023.

“Quality habitat is essential for effective wildlife management,” said Brian Nesvik, Game and Fish director. “The department is deeply committed to sustaining healthy populations of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife. By investing in our habitat, we create resilient landscapes that enable wildlife to endure fluctuations in water availability and severe winters.”

Game and Fish and partners united to work for a sustained future. Over the last year, the SHP guided numerous aquatic habitat efforts that improved over 155 stream miles.

“Improving and restoring stream miles is crucial for aquatic habitat. It enhances water quality, increases biodiversity and ensures the viability of fish and other aquatic species,” said Paul Dey, Game and Fish statewide aquatic habitat manager. “Healthy streams provide essential resources such as clean water, food and shelter for aquatic species and also supports a balanced and thriving ecosystem.”

In addition to the aquatic habitat work, Game and Fish collaborated on projects that led to the management of more than 935,000 acres of terrestrial habitat. Herbicide treatments to help control and prevent the spread of invasive grasses culminated at 80,704 acres.

“Reducing the spread of cheatgrass and other invasive grasses to benefit wildlife is a priority for the Department,” said Ian Tator, Game and Fish statewide terrestrial habitat manager. “We will continue to focus energy on this important task, so species like mule deer and sage grouse have access to the resources they need.”

More details on projects and the species they impact can be found in the report.

Habitat work in Wyoming would not be possible without partnerships. The Statewide Habitat Plan annual report highlights accomplishments achieved through collaboration. This year’s annual report profiles the Muley Fanatic Foundation for its partnership and contributions to habitat restoration, wildlife crossings and conservation education.

“We couldn’t accomplish our goals or achieve the same level of impact without our partners, and in 2023 the Muley Fanatic Foundation has exemplified what is possible when we have strong partnerships in place,” Nesvik said.

Current and past reports can be downloaded from the Game and Fish website.