A Legacy of Conservation Benefiting Wildlife, Landowners, and Wyoming alike
Wyoming is home to some of the most iconic, intact ungulate migrations in the world and also leads in recognizing these pathways through migration corridor designation. Landowners and Wyoming communities benefit from programs that protect migration routes crossing both private and public land. No one landowner or agency can work alone to protect migration routes; it takes a coordinated effort. By understanding the RD2H Migration Corridor you can support and contribute to a program that greatly benefits yourself and the state you call home.
What is the RD2H Corridor?
Known as RD2H for “Red Desert to Hoback Basin,” the Sublette Mule Deer Migration Corridor stretches 160 miles, from the Red Desert’s Leucite Hills, along the west flank of the Wind River Range, southeast into Hoback Basin. The corridor consists of migratory paths that are defined by observed deer movements. Pronghorn, moose, and elk also use winter and summer ranges linked by these ancient pathways.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission designated this migration corridor in 2016. RD2H was among the first to receive this status. Designation prioritizes conservation funding and opens an array of programs with direct benefits for landowners.
Big game migration corridors exist today thanks to a legacy of landowner’s care for wildlife. Conservation funding on private land recognizes this legacy. Landowners also benefit from the pride they feel as they
watch wildlife cross their lands.
How Does the Corridor Benefit Landowners?
Good fence placement and design benefit both wildlife and livestock grazing management. Assistance for fencing associated with migration corridors includes installing new fencing, rehabilitating old fencing to be more compatible with wildlife, adding seasonal lay-down sections, as well as removing unused or derelict fences.
Habitat and Forage:
Migration corridor designation has prioritized funding to ensure big game animals have quality forage as they move between summer and winter range. Habitat and forage improvements and restoration benefit livestock grazing as well. These projects also provide landowners with tools to manage the landscape, enabling agricultural operations to be more adaptive.
Wyoming’s ranches and working lands are testaments to a culture that values wildlife and undeveloped spaces working alongside agriculture. Conservation easements protect the land from future development while preserving agricultural legacies for future generations.
What Can Landowners Expect?
Landowner experiences with conservation projects related to the RD2H migration corridor are diverse in the scale and scope of projects, as well as their influence on individual ranch operations. Projects vary from modifying a single fenceline to landscape-scale preservation. Ranch operation benefits may focus on the annual budget bottom line or long-term ranch succession and climate adaptation.
Typical project sizes for wildlife friendly fencing related to RD2H migration range from a short section of lay-down fence to over thirty miles of fencing modified, removed, or replaced. For 70 landowners participating in the Upper Green River Basin Migration Corridor Fencing Initiative the average landowner received 6.6 miles of new or modified fence and 2.3 miles of unused or derelict fence removed.
Land parcels enrolled in conservation easements by landowners since designation in the RD2H corridor area range in size from 1.3 to 15,122 acres. Landowners benefit from habitat and forage projects on leased public grazing lands.
Many of these projects are landscape scale and involve long-term, multi-year planning and multiple landowners, making typical benefits for individual landowners difficult to quantify. Further, rather than showing up as benefits on annual ranch budgets, these projects have longterm landscape management and adaptation benefits for landowners and leaseholders.
Landowner perspectives have a common thread in seeing co-benefits to both ranching and habitat— livestock and wildlife—from conservation projects that relate to migration on their lands.
Have Questions? Ready to get involved?
Call (307) 335-8633
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Created in collaboration with the University of Wyoming.
Amy Nagler, Research Scientist, Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wyoming
Joy Bannon, Policy Director, Wyoming Wildlife Federation
Benjamin S. Rashford, Associate Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wyoming