Request for Proposals: Capacity Building Positions to Facilitate USDA Farm Bill Projects

Request for Proposals

Capacity Building Positions to Facilitate USDA Farm Bill Projects

 

Due Date: Proposals due January 6th, 2023

Timeline: Funds awarded in February 2023 with support over 2 years (2023 and 2024)

Anticipated Award Amounts: $100,000-$300,000

Anticipated Positions Funded: 3-5

 

 The WYldlife Fund (The Fund) unites people to advance Wyoming wildlife habitat, research, and education. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (Department) conserves wildlife and serves people. As a nonprofit partner of the Department, The Fund builds strategic partnerships to drive resources to the ground throughout Wyoming in order to advance Wyoming’s wildlife in alignment with the strategic vision of the Department.

The State of Wyoming has demonstrated itself as a leader in both the science and conservation actions related to big game migration for many years. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has directed the Department to prioritize conservation actions in big game migratory habitat for many years. Partnerships are critical to achieving these goals because they expand the personnel capacity and relationship network to deliver projects that benefit migratory big game.

In October 2022, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed an agreement that uses diverse Farm Bill programs and state expertise and resources to support voluntary conservation of private working lands and migratory big game populations in Wyoming. The Fund, seeks proposals from land trusts, NGO’s, County Conservation Districts, Tribal Partners, etc. to synergize this infusion of USDA Farm Bill funds by helping willing landowners both access and navigate USDA Farm Bill funding sources (Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and Grassland Conservation Reserve Program) along with providing NRCS technical assistance in the implementation of Farm Bill delivery in our geographic priority areas.

Executive Summary

Seeking proposals to fund Full-Time Equivalent (FTE’s) which focus on Farm Bill delivery to willing landowners in geographic priority areas. Anticipated awards from The Fund are expected to range from $100,000-$300,000 over 2 years with a desire that positions have sustainability over a longer term with funding commitments from other sources. A future project implementation funding RFP is anticipated.

Geographic Priority Areas

USDA and Wyoming have identified several initial priority areas for their partnership. Proposals that focus on, or encompass, these priority areas will be ranked most highly (see attached map). These Include:

  • Platte Valley, Baggs, and Sublette mule deer migration corridors
  • Absaroka Front Winter Range Complex
  • Wind River Reservation 

Proposal Focus

At this time, partners recognize a need for additional “boots on the ground” to connect federal and state resources to worthy projects. Proposals to develop new organizational capacity will be favored, with emphasis on:

  • Capacity Building FTE’s coordinating with and among landowners, local groups and agencies, focused on land protection (i.e., easements), habitat restoration (e.g., inventorying and modifying fences or managing invasive annual grass), supporting habitat leasing and other Farm Bill program delivery
  • FTEs to complete model projects by 1) monitor existing projects from recent USDA Farm Bill signups (habitat leasing, checking specifications on fence contracts, range monitoring for Cheatgrass, etc.), and 2) identifying new, exemplar project opportunities in priority geographies.

Ranking Criteria

  • Focus on developing projects that utilize USDA Farm Bill funds and tools within geographic priorities
  • Knowledge of the region and USDA Farm Bill programs/process
  • Established relationships with landowners and/or tribes
  • Evidence of collaboration with other partners (e.g. Wyoming Game and Fish Department, USFWS-with special focus on work to be completed on Wind River Reservation, Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust)
  • Organizational commitment to collaborative conservation focused on migratory big game
  • Matching funds provided by applicant
  • Evidence of long-term sustainability of position

Additional Requirements

  • Willingness to enter into an agreement or MOU with USDA to protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII) if providing direct landowner assistance or accessing USDA records.
  • Semi-annual progress reports

 

Please reach out to Chris McBarnes with The Fund if you are interested in submitting a proposal at chris@thewyldlifefund.org or (307)316-3863. You will be provided detailed guidelines and a template for your proposal. Proposals will be reviewed by a grants advisory panel comprised of Department, Tribal, Federal, Private Landowner and Fund representation. Proposals will be reviewed by the grants advisory panel and recommendations for funding will be sent to the full Fund Board for consideration and any additional questions.

 

 

 

Wildlife projects funded through signature program

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from The WYldlife Fund! Thanks to our incredible supporters we are grateful to make another big funding announcement for Wyoming’s wildlife.

Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow, a signature program of The WYldlife Fund, inspires businesses and individuals who depend upon Wyoming’s Wildlife to help fund on-the ground projects that make a difference. This visionary program led by Wyldlife Fund Board Member, Taylor Phillips has already yielded great success for wildlife. This movement puts tourism related dollars directly into projects you select and support our shared wildlife legacy today.

To date, this program has raised $203,000 for Wyoming’s wildlife with over 70 businesses supporting through charitable contributions!

This past week at the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission meeting in Rock Springs, we announced $84,900 in gifts for ‘on the ground’ wildlife conservation projects through this signature program!

Read more information on these projects below!

New Fork River Restoration

Restoration strategies will restore channel dimensions to reference conditions (narrow and deepen channel cross sections), alleviate highly erosive stream banks, and provide additional cover for fish within the channel. Click here to learn more.

South Park Wetlands Enhancement

The effort will reconnect old channel scars in the cottonwood gallery to the Snake River, helping raise the water table and increase the complexity of the forested habitat. Additional shallow water wetlands will be built to provide more filtering, as well as more habitat for migrating waterbirds. Click here to learn more.

Grand Teton National Park Sagebrush Restoration

As the project has progressed, so too has the park’s experimentation with different management techniques to yield better outcomes overall—including greater diversity of native plant species and higher quality habitat, which together are key to supporting wildlife and a balanced ecosystem. Click here to learn more.

Beaver Holding Facility

Beavers can drastically alter river ecosystems by impounding water through dam construction, which can greatly benefit habitat. Dams create higher water tables, reconnect and expand floodplains, expand wetlands, improve water quality, and increase diversity and richness in the populations of plant and animal life. Click here to learn more.

Expanding the conservation funding model

The spectacular wildlife found in our state exist thanks to over a century of dedicated conservation efforts.

Wildlife conservation in Wyoming is primarily funded via the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, federal aid from the Pittman Robertson and Dingell Johnson (excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment), and a few other small areas. Wyoming Game and Fish Department receives no property taxes from the state of Wyoming or contributions from recreational users.  In short, the hunting and fishing community shoulders the majority of the burden of wildlife conservation.

We believe more of us should be pitching in to wildlife conservation in Wyoming. This program aims to change this, creating a funding mechanism that will allow the businesses and individuals who depend upon wildlife to contribute to their sustainable future. Click here to learn more!

 

Thank you for helping make this signature program a tremendous success. We are currently working through a rebranding effort when it comes to Wildlife Tourism For Tomorrow, so stay tuned! We are excited to continue to grow this initiative and place more dollars on the ground for the benefit of Wyoming’s wildlife.

 

We wish both you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas and Holiday Season.

Sincerely,

Chris McBarnes

President

The WYldlife Fund

I-25 Wildlife Crossing FUNDED

I-25 (Buffalo to Kaycee) Wildlife Crossing Project  – Fully Funded and Bid Accepted

One of The WYldlife Fund’s first objectives has been to construct wildlife crossings in key areas of Wyoming. Wildlife crossings are an effective way to save wildlife and protect drivers. According to one conservative estimate, wildlife-vehicle collisions in Wyoming cost $54-56 million per year. This includes the costs due to human injuries, vehicle damages, and lost wildlife value.

Our first large project focus has been the I-25 (Buffalo to Kaycee) Wildlife Crossing Project. This effort between The WYldlife Fund and our strategic partners seeks to build 15 miles of exclusionary fencing to direct wildlife — mainly mule deer — to existing underpasses as opposed to crossing the highway surface. We are so thrilled to have accomplished our goal, as the Wyoming Department of Transportation recently accepted a bid to start the building of the exclusionary fencing. Construction is expected to begin in spring of 2023.

The allure of this project and the reason for its relatively low overall cost is due to the use of these existing underpasses being utilized to provide safe passage for wildlife across I-25. The crossing will improve wildlife connectivity across a 15 mile stretch of I-25 by directing wildlife to six different existing underpasses. Deer escape ramps, cattle guards and gates will also be included in construction plans to facilitate appropriate movements of big game animals into the future.

Carcass counts and crash data will be used to compare conditions before and after project completion to measure success of the project. We will also confer with the Powder River Mule Deer Initiative Research to compare pre and post project data.

By reducing wildlife-vehicle mortalities, we expect an increase in overall mule deer population numbers in the Upper Powder River and Pumpkin Buttes.

Learn more about our Wildlife Crossing Work.

How has The WYldlife Fund contributed to this important project?

The WYldlife Fund is honored to have worked with several other outstanding organizations who advocated for and raised essential funds for this project.

THANK YOU TO THESE INCREDIBLE PARTNERS AND FUNDERS

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Wyoming Department of Transportation

Knobloch Family Foundation

Muley Fanatic Foundation

Williams Energy

Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust

Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Fund

 

Translocating and supporting beavers, a WIN-WIN

The WYldlife Fund allows donors to make restricted gifts to fund a passion which is of most interest and relevancy. This model allows the donor faith and confidence that their donation is headed directly to an area of most passion. Thanks to a generous gift by Mary and Charlie Rumsey of Meeteetse, WY we have established a fund which directly supports the majestic moose and the first investment from this fund supports beaver translocation and expansion across Wyoming in key geographical areas.

This generous gift from the Rumsey Family, which established the moose fund, went to support the purchase and fabrication of a beaver translocation trailer for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. This trailer will allow for safe and effective beaver translocation to willing and accepting landowners. These efforts result in enhanced wetlands habitat which benefits a multitude of wildlife species.

Izott Emily Lydia Tween of Washington State University explains, “Increasingly land managers use beavers to restore stream function. Through the impacts of dam building beavers increase water storage and aquifer recharge, resulting in improved stream conditions for fish. Beavers are ecosystem engineers altering habitat by building dams and impounding water and sediment. Beaver ponding can increase surface-groundwater exchange in the hyporhoeic zone which in turn may lead to cooler inputs of groundwater upwelling downstream. This consequent buffering of maximum stream temperatures can be of benefit to temperature sensitive species. Beavers are seen as a cost-effective method for habitat restoration compared to resource-intensive heavy engineering restoration projects.”

Through this gift, the Rumsey Family is standing behind the efforts of Terrestrial Habitat Biologist, Jerry Altermatt and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in their commitment to strategically utilizing these ‘ecosystem engineers’ and the positive enhancements they bring to the landscape and habitat.

The WYldlife Fund thanks Mary and Charlie for their incredible commitment to the wildlife of Wyoming and their jumpstart of the moose fund! If you would be interested in investing in this important cause please reach out to us at 307-316-3863 or email chris@thewyldlifefund.org.

The WYldlife Fund announces the latest round of microgrant awards!

The WYldlife Fund is proud to support the following projects through our microgrant program.  Please feel free to share our website and the application for a microgrant with any organization that has a project that is strategically aligned with our vision and mission statement, “Uniting people to advance Wyoming wildlife habitat, research, and education”.  

 

Greater Yellowstone/Crooked Creek Bear Proof Trash Storage–

Through our microgrant program, The Wyldlife Fund is proud to have provided a $2500 grant to the Greater Yellowstone Coalition to provide Pro-Pactor trash compactor trailer to the Crooked Creek Ranch in the Dunoir area west of Dubois, WY.  This trailer will be used to limit grizzly bear conflicts in the area by responsibly and effectively storing waste in a bear proof container.  Other partners in this project are: Crooked Creek Ranch, U.S. Forest Service, Wyoming Game and Fish, and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.  The Wyldlife Fund is proud to provide support for this cause and promote responsible waste management and education.

 

Park County Weed and Pest:  Boot Brush Stations

Partnering with the Park County Weed and Pest, The Wyldlife Fund is proud to sponsor the purchase of five additional PlayCleanGo Boot Brush Stations to place at trailheads throughout Park County.  These stations provide a boot cleaning station at trailheads in order to help prevent invasive species introduction into areas of critical wildlife habitat.  The WYldlife Fund is happy to work with the BLM and Shoshone National Forest to provide $2500 through our Microgrant program to provide additional stations and promote education about invasive plant species and the part that humans play in spreading them into areas that are critical for wildlife.

 

Wyoming Game and Fish:  Afton Elk Herd Native Winter Range Project

The WYldlife Fund with our partners at the Wyoming Game and Fish are happy to support the efforts of Ben Wise (regional wildlife disease biologist) to research the portion of the Afton elk herd that are not currently utilizing the elk feedgrounds.  This project will involve capturing and collaring elk with the use of helicopters to provide critical data concerning migration patterns and utilization of native winter range. Our $2500 microgrant will help offset the cost of collars and activation fees, etc.  The mission statement of The Wyldlife Fund is:  Uniting people to advance Wyoming wildlife habitat, research, and education.  This project is perfectly aligned with that goal.

Joey’s Fly Fishing:  Joey’s Stream Keepers Conservation Program

Working together with our friends at Joey’s Fly Fishing, The Wyldlife Fund is proud to provide sponsorship of the Joey’s Stream Keepers Conservation Program through a microgrant of $2500.  These funds will be utilized to provide research through the use of river boxes, entomology collection and analysis kits.  The aim of this research is to provide education to support efforts in stream management and protection for long-term sustainability.  Other partners in this effort are as follows:  Trout Unlimited, Holy Name Catholic School, Admiral Beverage, and Oxbow Ranch (Randal Huckeba).

Nate Brown hired as Operations manager

The WYldlife Fund welcomes Nate Brown as our Operations Manager! Nate has hit the ground running in his first week on the job and will be a strong advocate and asset for Wyoming’s wildlife. Reach out to Nate at nate@thewyldlifefund.org or (307) 851-1223.
A Wyoming native, Nate was born in Fremont County and is proud to become a member of The WYldlife Fund team working as Operations Manager. Nate has worked for the past decade in the oil and gas industry in North Dakota as a pipeline inspector, foreman and superintendent. He credits his experiences in Wyoming, working in the agriculture and outfitting industries with providing him the tenacity to excel in his endeavors in the oil and gas business. These talents are now being put to work for Wyoming’s wildlife through The WYldlife Fund.
Prior to working in North Dakota, Nate made Wyoming his home working in the livestock industry, outfitting and guiding hunters, building saddles, and as a farrier. As a young man, Nate had the opportunity to work extensively in the Bridger-Teton Wilderness and Wind River Range and loves packing horses and mules into the backcountry. Along with his guiding and outfitting background, he has enjoyed many hours in the saddle working alongside many of the best in the livestock and ranching industry. A lifelong dream of being a cowboy and a love for Wyoming’s wildlife was instilled in him by his family, many of whom hunted and worked to preserve and protect the wildlife and western heritage that makes Wyoming special.
Wyoming has a quality of life and a mystique that has called Nate home. Despite college aspirations and career motivations that led him away momentarily, Nate is proud to say that Wyoming has always been his home. He will strive to bring a cohesive and bonding work ethic to the conservation efforts of The WYldlife fund, using his broad background to bring varied interest groups together for the common goal of providing a legacy of conservation-minded people who agree to work together for Wyoming’s wildlife and to preserve it for generations to come.

Apply for the Inspire A Kid Camp Today!

The WYldlife Fund is partnering with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to host the first annual Inspire a Kid Camp at the Little Jennie Ranch in Bondurant this June 22nd-28th. The camp offers an overnight camp experience for male students ages 13-16. The camp will focus on exploration of nature, introduction to conservation principles, leadership development, and learning new recreational outdoor activities while giving participants experiences to successfully navigate and positively interact with the outdoor environment. The Inspire a Kid Camp led by the Little Jennie Ranch and WYldlife Fund staff will allow participants to observe the natural world, engage in wildlife, fish, and habitat biology, and recreate responsibly in the outdoors.
Thanks to a generous donor, there will be no cost for participants to attend camp. Along with dynamic lessons from Game and Fish biologists on a daily basis, participants will have the chance to build their own fly rods, participate in shooting sports and enjoy horseback riding amongst other activities. Every night we will have leadership chats around the campfire with speakers such as Director Brian Nesvik of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Dan Starks who built the National Military Vehicle Museum in Dubois.
________________________________________
If you are a male student 13-16 years of age and are interested in a once in a lifetime experience please fill out the below application and submit by May 31st at 4pm by emailing your application to chris@thewyldlifefund.org or mail to The WYldlife Fund at PO Box 890 Buffalo, WY 82834.
To preview our camp registration and information packet download the pdf below.
If you have any questions call Chris McBarnes at (307)316-3863 or email chris@thewyldlifefund.org

The WYldlife Fund contributes $34,500 to the Absaroka Fence Initiative

The WYldlife Fund was honored to present a check for $34,500 to our good friends at the Absaroka Fence Initiative at the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission meeting on March 25th in Cody. This donation was made possible through a generous donation of a Wyoming Commissioner License by Commissioner Ashlee Lundvall. Thank you, Commissioner Lundvall!
 
The Absaroka Fence Initiative works in cooperation with willing landowners and land managers, and aims to ensure fences are functional for livestock management and wildlife movement across the landscape through on the ground projects, public workdays and outreach to the community.

Wildlife unfriendly fences can interrupt wildlife habitat connectivity and migration routes and create many other hazards for wildlife.

In a 2020 Wyoming study, each radio-collared mule deer encountered fences an average of 119 times each year and pronghorn antelope encountered fences at more than twice that rate, about 248 times per year. Pronghorn and mule deer alter their natural movement nearly 40% of the times they encounter fences. Such avoidance of fences can drive animals away from high-quality resources and reduce habitat use effectiveness.

A study of antelope, mule deer and elk mortality along 600 miles of road (1,200 miles of fence) in Utah and Colorado found 0.4 mortalities per year per mile of fence or one dead antelope every year per 5.6 miles of fence; one dead mule deer every year per 7.8 miles of fence and a dead elk every year for every 10.3 miles of fence. This equates to one dead animal every 2.5 miles of fence.

The WYldlife Fund will continue to support wildlife friendly fence work across Wyoming. You can learn more about the great work of the Absaroka Fence Initiative by heading to their website: https://absarokafenceinitiative.org.

$50,000 headed to the US 26 Dubois Wildlife Crossing Project

The 10 Country Chapter of Muley Fanatics Partners With The WYldlife Fund To Send $50,000 Gift To US Highway 26 Wildlife Crossing Project 

Organizations stand beside Game and Fish Commission to prioritize safe passages

 

The Muley Fanatic Foundation has enthusiastically delivered a check for $50,000 to The WYldlife Fund in order to spark fundraising efforts for the US Highway 26 Wildlife Crossing Project. This project around Dubois from Stoney Point to Dinwoody Creek (mileposts 48-73)  meets a major need in keeping our wildlife and drivers on the go.

US 26 around Dubois is one of the most dangerous highway segments in Wyoming for both motorists and wildlife in terms of wildlife-vehicle collision (WVC) risk. From 2015 through 2019, collisions with wildlife accounted for 74% of all vehicle crashes reported to law enforcement. The cost of these collisions is estimated at $791,400 annually, including property damage, accident response and cleanup costs, and the value of the wildlife killed in these collisions.

The Dubois mule deer herd is an identified priority herd in the Wyoming State Action Plan and the WVC mortality rate on US 26 has been a recognized concern for many years.

10 Country Chapter Co-chairmen Jared Oakleaf and Rowdy Anderson explain, “The US Highway 26 Wildlife Crossing Project was identified in the 2017 Wyoming Wildlife and Roadways Summit as one of the state’s top priorities. This project undoubtedly will make our roadways safer for our families and wildlife. Our chapter is proud to partner with The WYldlife Fund to route these dollars to this much needed project. We are just beginning the fundraising efforts for US 26 and we hope this gift will spark momentum for the project.”

 

In accepting this gift, The WYldlife Fund President Chris McBarnes expressed the Fund’s commitment to supporting Wyoming’s wildlife and promoting safety on roadways for all drivers.

“Wildlife crossings are an effective way to make a direct and positive impact on Wyoming’s wildlife. Pairing underpasses and overpasses with high fencing can reduce wildlife collisions by more than 90%. The WYldlife Fund is a vehicle to route dollars to on the ground projects which will strengthen and advance our wildlife. We applaud Muley Fanatics for their continued commitment to Wyoming’s wildlife.”

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Wyoming Department of Transportation partnered alongside other agencies, NGOs, landowners and the Dubois community to develop a comprehensive mitigation strategy to effectively reduce wildlife vehicle collisions on US Highway 26 in the Dubois area.

“We’re excited about the mitigation strategy and are initially focusing on the construction of the comprehensive system of the over- and underpasses in that segment of the highway from milepost 58 to 64.5.  Of course, contributions like this from the 10 Country Chapter of MFF get us a bit closer to project implementation and we are grateful,” said Wyoming Game and Fish Department Lander Region Wildlife Management Coordinator Daryl Lutz.

“Conservation efforts in the 21st Century are rooted in collaboration and this is a prime example of such. This project, its needs and priorities, have been well documented. We are elated to see the 10 Country Chapter is in a position to make this valuable contribution. The 10 Country Chapter and their supporters continue to raise the bar in furthering the MFF mission,” said Joshua Coursey, Muley Fanatic Foundation President/CEO.

2022 Wyoming Commissioner License Raffle Now Available!

Your choice on hunt area and species for one of the following THIS FALL:

Deer, Elk, or Antelope- subject to Wyoming Game & Fish Department guidelines.

Only 350 tickets will be sold

Open to Residents and Non Residents

Support Wildlife

Win a once in a lifetime hunt in Wyoming and support wildlife conservation at the same time!

This Wyoming Commissioner License is valid in any hunt area throughout Wyoming’s dynamic hunting country. This is your opportunity to support Wyoming’s wildlife while having the shot at an incredible hunting experience. All of the proceeds raised through this raffle will help further the mission of The WYldlife Fund.

View Raffle!

Join us on The WYldlife Fund Facebook Page on March 4th, 2022 at 5pm Mountain Time as we announce the winner!