The Whiskey Mountain herd was once the largest wintering herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the US, but in the early ‘90s, a catastrophic pneumonia-related die-off occurred and reduced the population from approximately 2,000 individuals to ~630 individuals in 2005.
Flat Creek is an important Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout spawning tributary that has been adversely affected by urbanization, rural land development, and water management.
U.S.-26 from mileposts 48-73 has been identified as a priority in the state to address Wildlife Vehicle Collisions.
The New Fork River is one of the most popular river fisheries in western Wyoming, emerging from the Wind River Mountains and flowing generally south for approximately 70 miles before reaaching its confluence with the Green River.
At the downstream end of the Snake River levee system, the Snake River is especially dynamic due to heightened erosive forces from the levee’s straightening and channelization and lack of access to its floodplain.
Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) protects large expanses of high elevation, mesic sagebrush-steppe grasslands that support many species of mammals and birds.
Beavers can drastically alter river ecosystems by impounding water through dam construction, which can greatly benefit habitat.
The WYldlife Fund, a charitable nonprofit partner of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, announced six generousgifts totaling $77,500 from Williams, NextEra Energy Resources, Project West (Ciner), Rocky Mountain Power, Spire Storage and TerraPower to support the South Kemmerer HWY189 Wildlife Crossing Project.
“Valued partners step up time and time again for Wyoming’s wildlife,” said WYldlife Fund President Chris McBarnes. “We appreciate their commitment to helping save wildlife and improving safety on Wyoming’s roadways.”
Williams donated $27,500 to support the project, along with $10,000 donations from NextEra Energy Resources, through its charitable arm, the NextEra Energy Foundation, Project West, Rocky Mountain Power, Spire Storage and TerraPower.
Over 6,000 big game animals die each year from collisions with vehicles on Wyoming’s highways and interstates. The vast majority of reported collisions involve mule deer. At the current rate, there are 21 big game collisions every day in Wyoming, eight of which involve significant damage to vehicles and/or human injury. The total cost of wildlife-vehicle collisions in Wyoming averages about $55 million per year.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation and Wyoming Game and Fish Department have documented significant wildlife-vehicle collisions with mule deer and pronghorn along a 28-mile stretch of Highway 189 in southwest Wyoming, from mile marker 2 to 30. This project will reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and promote habitat connectivity for big game by directing animals to existing and new wildlife crossing structures. The total cost estimate of this project is over $23 million and includes replacing existing fences and the construction of five underpasses and one overpass.
“Williams is committed to the continuous improvement of the environment with a laser focus on safety for its employees and the communities where we operate. Support for the WYldlife Fund’s wildlife crossing program underscores this commitment,” said Mark Gebbia, Vice President Environmental, Regulatory and Permitting at Williams.
“We believe in building strong partnerships that make a difference, especially in communities that our projects call home, and that’s why we’re pleased to support this wildlife crossing project in Wyoming,” said Matt Raffenberg, vice president of environmental services for NextEra Energy Resources. “As an industry leader in renewable energy, we are committed to environmental protection and stewardship and believe this project is a win-win for communities and wildlife because it not only helps protect Wyoming’s migrating wildlife, but also helps keep motorists safe.”
“Project West and Ciner are deeply focused on Southwest Wyoming’s best future. For people. For wildlife. For community. We are proud to be a partner in this important effort for the safety of people on the roads and for wildlife to thrive in open spaces,” said Oguz Erkan, CEO of Ciner US.
“The Rocky Mountain Power Foundation is excited to partner with The WYldlife Fund and other Wyoming businesses and conservation organizations to support the Kemmerer wildlife road crossing project,” said James Owen, Vice President, Environmental, Fuels & Mining at Rocky Mountain Power. “This effort not only benefits and conserves wildlife such as mule deer and pronghorn, it provides safer roads for people in Wyoming, including Rocky Mountain Power’s customers and employees. We are proud to be a supporter of this project.”
“At Spire, we’re committed to using our energy to positively benefit the places we call home,” said Scott Smith, president of Spire Storage. “The WYldlife Fund is a great example of that commitment, and we support its goal to protect wildlife in Southwest Wyoming while also improving safety for drivers on Highway 189.”
“The WYldlife Fund’s crossing program will increase both wildlife and passenger safety, and TerraPower is proud to partner on this important project,” said TerraPower President and CEO Chris Levesque. “We are eager to continue to engage with the local community as we ramp up activities at our Natrium demonstration site and this project will have a positive impact on our employees and the community.”
“The Commission has prioritized wildlife-friendly crossings throughout Wyoming. Living in Kemmerer, I know firsthand that this particular project will have a profoundly positive impact on wildlife and members of the community who drive this stretch of highway on a regular basis,” said Wyoming Game and Fish Commission Ken Roberts. “The Commission applauds and thanks these valued partners and all those throughout Wyoming who continue to partner with Game and Fish for the benefit of our wildlife and communities.”
The Pooled Migration Fund serves as a catalyst to significant federal investments in Wyoming
The WYldlife Fund, a nonprofit partner of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, announced the first recipients of grant funding from its new Pooled Migration Fund. The grant funding is intended to enhance voluntary conservation of private, working lands and Tribal lands within big game migration corridors.
“Private landowners and Tribal partners provide important habitat for wildlife,” said WYldlife Fund President Chris McBarnes. “We’re proud this new effort can accelerate their stewardship efforts, which keeps working lands working and Wyoming’s proud wildlife heritage intact.”
The Pooled Migration Fund supports stewardship of private and tribal lands within the state-designated Platte Valley, Baggs and Sublette mule deer migration corridors, as well as multispecies seasonal ranges in the Shoshone River valleys and Wind River Indian Reservation. It is supported by philanthropic grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Wilburforce Foundation and BAND Foundation.
Recipients of the first round of the Pooled Migration Fund grant are the Greater Yellowstone Coalition: $175,000, Jackson Hole Land Trust: $200,000, The Nature Conservancy: $112,156, Western Landowner Alliance: $200,000 and Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust: $228,350.
“The Pooled Migration Fund is part of a new model of federal, state and philanthropic partnerships aimed at sustaining our state’s working and Tribal lands and wildlife,” McBarnes added.
The Pooled Migration Fund complements the recent partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture and the State of Wyoming through the Big Game Conservation Partnership. The now $22 million pilot partnership — which initially started at $16 million — was established to allow producers to simultaneously manage their land for livestock, wildlife and migration corridors.
“Wyoming’s landowners provide productive wildlife habitat across our state and this initiative focused on wildlife movement is really important,” said Brian Nesvik, Director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “This partnership is opening new doors to put wildlife conservation on the ground.”
“The US Department of Agriculture is very excited to be working alongside the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the WYldlife Fund, and these grant recipients to support a voluntary, locally-led approach to the conservation of Wyoming’s iconic big game migrations,” said Dr. Arthur Middleton, Senior Advisor for Wildlife Conservation in USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation Mission Area.
The WYldlife Fund expects to announce another Request for Proposals for grant funding from the Pooled Migration Fund this fall focused on project implementation.
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Serving as a nonprofit partner to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department since 2020, The WYldlife Fund specializes in precise and efficient allocation of philanthropic resources to advance wildlife projects across Wyoming. For questions reach out to Chris McBarnes at 307-316-3863 or email@example.com.