Through our signature program Wildlife Tourism For Tomorrow we were honored to support important sage-grouse fence inventory work through our good friends at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation.
Livestock fence wires can be a significant cause of sage-grouse mortality due to birds hitting wires while in flight. For example, in less than one calendar year, 99 sage-grouse fence collisions were counted on a four-mile stretch of fence in neighboring Sublette County (unpublished data).
Many wildlife accidents and deaths from fences are unreported because they occur out of view or happen with smaller animals that are hard to detect in vegetation. The status of problem fences in sage-grouse core habitat is unknown, making implementing protection plans difficult.
Our funding–a donation of $15,000–has gone to support the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation in their work to take all known digital layers of fence and assemble and import them into a field-ready application that can receive data as more work is completed. In summer 2022, this application was beta-tested and improved upon.
Fences on national park and national forest land are also being inventoried with the help of staff, interns, and volunteers. The final product of this effort will allow land managers to prioritize fences for prospective removals and modifications to protect not only sage-grouse, but many other species including migratory mammals and sagebrush songbirds.
Partners involved in this important work are the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation, Grand Teton National Park, and the Bridger-Teton National Forest.