USDA, others fund big-game corridor mitigation

Courtesy map

SUBLETTE COUNTY – The WYldlife Fund, a nonprofit partner of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, announced last month the first recipients of grant funding from its new Pooled Migration Fund. The grant funding is intended to enhance voluntary conservation of private, working lands and Tribal lands within big game migration corridors. 

“Private landowners and Tribal partners provide important habitat for wildlife,” said WYldlife Fund President Chris McBarnes. “We’re proud this new effort can accelerate their stewardship efforts, which keeps working lands working and Wyoming’s proud wildlife heritage intact.”

The Pooled Migration Fund supports stewardship of private and tribal lands within the state-designated Platte Valley, Baggs and Sublette mule deer migration corridors, as well as multi-species seasonal ranges in the Shoshone River valleys and Wind River Indian Reservation.

It is supported by philanthropic grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Wilburforce Foundation and BAND Foundation. 

Recipients of the first round of the Pooled Migration Fund grant are the Greater Yellowstone Coalition: $175,000, Jackson Hole Land Trust: $200,000, The Nature Conservancy: $112,156, Western Landowner Alliance: $200,000 and Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust: $228,350.

“The Pooled Migration Fund is part of a new model of federal, state and philanthropic partnerships aimed at sustaining our state’s working and Tribal lands and wildlife,” McBarnes added.

The Pooled Migration Fund complements the recent partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture and the State of Wyoming through the Big Game Conservation Partnership. The now $22-million pilot partnership – which initially started at $16 million – was established to allow producers to simultaneously manage their land for livestock, wildlife and migration corridors.

“Wyoming’s landowners provide productive wildlife habitat across our state and this initiative focused on wildlife movement is really important,” said Brian Nesvik, director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “This partnership is opening new doors to put wildlife conservation on the ground.”

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture is very excited to be working alongside the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the WYldlife Fund and these grant recipients to support a voluntary, locally led approach to the conservation of Wyoming’s iconic big game migrations,” said Dr. Arthur Middleton, senior advisor for wildlife conservation in USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation Mission Area.

The WYldlife Fund expects to announce another Request for Proposals for grant funding from the Pooled Migration Fund this fall focused on project implementation.