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WWF Migrations Work in 2016

WWF’s Jessi Johnson on one of the mule deer captures; radio collar work under the Wyoming Migrations Initiative.

The Wyoming Wildlife Federation made significant strides this year concerning our work to conserve migration corridors in southwestern Wyoming. WWF’s Migrations program includes our efforts to lead 14 groups in conservation efforts for the Red Desert to Hoback Basin (RD2H) mule deer migration.

The Partnership for the Red Desert to Hoback migration, includes 14 groups dedicated to conserving this 150 mile mule deer corridor.

In 2016, WWF secured more than $300,000 in grant funding to implement fencing projects along the RD2H corridor. The Sublette Conservation District, one of our partners, served as the banker for these funds. WWF Field Scientist Steve Kilpatrick administered the grants and facilitated the work with private landowners for installing the wildlife fencing in priority areas along 130 miles of this migration route. Also in 2016, WWF launched a new website on the RD2H (www.rd2h.org) with details on this project and plans for the future.

Other progress related to migrations included WWF’s work with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to craft new definitions for big game migrations in Wyoming. WWF served on a committee created to develop the definitions – vital stopovers and bottlenecks – which were adopted by the Commission and is now in their official Mitigation Policy. As a result, these specific areas along the corridor are protected when it comes to the impacts of energy development in proximity of big game migration corridors. This collaborate work with the department and our conservation partners also resulted in the first ever designated mule deer corridor in Wyoming, the Sublette Mule Deer Corridor (Mesa, Rye Grass and Red Desert herds). This designation is significant because it means this corridor will receive proper consideration in the draft Rock Springs Resource Management Plan. WWF is working with BLM on that plan and received information that our work on the migrations with Game and Fish and those recommendations will officially be included in their preferred alternative for future management.

Red Desert to Hoback, The Partnership, includes:

  • Wyoming Wildlife Federation
  • Sublette County Conservation District
  • Green River Valley Land Trust
  • Wyoming Outdoor Council
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Muley Fanatics
  • Rollie Sparrow – private citizen representative
  • Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
  • The Conservation Fund
  • The Wilderness Society
  • Trust for Public Land
  • Western Landowners Alliance
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Greater Yellowstone Coalition
  • Science and Technology Partner
  • Wyoming Migration Initiative