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Wyoming conservation partners invest for habitat projects

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department, in collaboration with many partners, invested more than $8 million for aquatic and terrestrial habitat projects in 2018. The projects are crucial for conserving more than 800 species in Wyoming for future generations.

Game and Fish recently released the 2018 Strategic Habitat Plan Annual Report. Game and Fish allocated more than $1.6 million in funds for habitat projects and was able to leverage that for more than $6.4 from the Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resources Trust fund, federal government funds, state funds, private landowners and local conservation partners.

“External partners contributed $3.72 for every Game and Fish dollar,” said Brian Nesvik, Game and Fish director. “This work would not be possible without the wide-ranging support of the people of this state to ensure we leave Wyoming a better place. Wyoming invests in habitat because it’s clear that the people who live and work here treasure wildlife, and that starts on the ground. I want to thank all project partners who invested in Wyoming’s wildlife habitats in 2018.”

The annual report details diverse accomplishments throughout the state. Over the last year, Game and Fish, alongside partners, helped direct restoration, monitoring and enhancement activities aimed at improving 101 stream miles and more than 299,000 acres of terrestrial habitats including planting nearly 13,306 native trees and shrubs. Cheatgrass treatments to help control and prevent the spread of the invasive plant topped 34,263 acres. More details on projects and the species they impact can be found in the report.

Public asked to report dead sage grouse during West Nile virus season

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is asking everyone, especially landowners, to report dead sage grouse to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department so the birds can be tested for West Nile virus. Reports help in the management of the state’s sage grouse populations.

Research has shown sage grouse have low resistance to West Nile virus, which is usually fatal to the birds. Evidence of the disease has been reported in past years in northeast Wyoming and in surrounding states, including a sage grouse in North Dakota.

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Leslie Schreiber, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s sage grouse/sagebrush biologist, said there is no sign yet of an outbreak of the virus in the bird’s population. However, this year’s precipitation and warm weather has created conditions favorable for mosquitoes, which can carry the virus.

“Warm nighttime temperatures are thought to enhance the ability of the West Nile virus to multiply in the gut of the mosquito. If conditions are warm between now and the end of August, we could see the virus show up this year,” Schreiber said.

Testing dead birds helps Game and Fish monitor the scope and impact of the disease across the state.

Nebraska bighorn sheep lottery applications close Aug. 2

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will accept applications for a 2019 bighorn sheep lottery permit through Aug. 2. Only Nebraska residents are eligible.

Apply at a Nebraska Game and Parks office or at outdoornebraska.org. A $29 nonrefundable application fee must accompany each application.

The 2019 bighorn sheep season is Dec. 3-22. The permit will be drawn Aug. 28.

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