A gift from the Williams Foundation was used to issue our first grant to install wildlife friendly fencing at the Red Rim-Grizzly Wildlife Habitat Management Area.
The Red Rim-Grizzly Wildlife Habitat Management (WHMA) Area is located 38 miles south of Rawlins, WY and consists of 38,218 acres of Commission owned land, Office of State Lands and Investment as well as Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property. As a patchwork of property, the WHMA is managed by both the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the BLM who work cooperatively to maintain and enhance habitat and continue livestock grazing. The WHMA transitions fluidly from riparian meadows to sprawling sagebrush uplands that interweaves with tangles of mountain shrubs and lush aspen stands. The WHMA is particularly important to the mule deer, elk, and antelope that make Red Rim-Grizzly their home. They spend the spring, summer, and fall months using the area to raise their fawns and calves as well as find forage to restore their fat reserves needed for winter. Black bears also frequent the thick serviceberry stands, readying for winter; while sage grouse meander through the riparian meadows and neighboring sagebrush in summer and early fall months when brooding and rearing their chicks. The many streams that feed this bustling habitat are home to the Colorado Cutthroat Trout and native non-game fish.
There are approximately eighty-eight (88) miles of fence surrounding and within the unit that facilitate active grazing management. Of these eighty-eight (88) miles, there are roughly thirty-five (35) miles of non-wildlife friendly fencing of either six-strand wire or woven wire sheep fence. This fencing poses significant hazard to wildlife and restricts wildlife movement across a vital landscape that provides critical seasonal and life stage habitats. Converting these fences not only ensures access and movement across this landscape, but also assists in the implementation of the WHMA’s grazing management plan by keeping livestock in appropriate pastures during the grazing season. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department along with its partners actively strive to convert two (2) to five (5) miles of fence each year through contracts, grazing cooperator agreements, volunteers, and employees. All fences are converted to a four strand (three-barbed one smooth) wildlife friendly specification unless terrain or other factors dictate otherwise. When terrain demands such changes, another wildlife friendly option will be used. This grant will be used towards these valuable and needed fence conversions.
The WYldlife Fund is committed to prioritizing wildlife friendly fencing projects and supporting organizations who carry out this critical work.