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Habitat Projects

WLCI habitat projects are on-the-ground activities intended to improve terrestrial and aquatic habitats and terrain, and are conducted by various WLCI partners, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and others. Data compiled by the USGS Science Team are being used to evaluate habitat-improvement projects. Project assessment work includes acquiring and standardizing data of project activities to guide ongoing and future monitoring and research. Assessment information will be used to identify species most likely to be affected by development. An important outcome of this effort will be transferability of landscape conservation models and procedures to other areas targeted for energy development.

Aspen Treatment Projects

  • Star Valley Front Rx Burn 2013

    The Star Valley Front project was brought up by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in the early 80's to help improve big game winter ranges. The project area contains mountain shrubland, big sagebrush, and aspen communities that are in less-than-suitable condition. The commumnities continue to decline due in large part to an over-representation of late-seral conditions and an insufficient frequency and extent of fire. Declining habitat conditions in the Star Valley Front project area are having negative effects on mule deer, elk, and moose due to declining forage conditions. Other wildlife species, including several migratory bird species, are being adversely impacted by the loss and decline in quality of mountain shrubland and aspen [...] (Read More)

  • Special Status Plant Species Monitoring and Inventory

    Properly identifying the rarity of a species is essential to determine the amount of protection that needs to be applied. Clarifying the status of these species will allow industry to proactively manage their exploration and development activities. This project focuses on obtaining current species information throughout all the Field Offices and will identify and delineate the present location of these sensitive species. (Read More)

  • Pole Creek Prescribed Burn

    This project will involve prescribed burning 6546 acres (approximately half black) in a mosaic pattern in the Pole Creek area to improve upland plant communities, and aspen stands by removing conifer cover to help sustain aspen habitat by promoting suckering and removing competition by conifers to increase productivity and browse. The project includes a special emphasis on improvement of the age class and diversity of plant communities. Historically, some of this area has been classified as transitional and year long range for mule deer, elk, moose, and antelope. Healthy aspen, mountain shrub, grassland/forb and riparian communities are important parturition and fawn rearing areas for big game. By improving this portion of the transitional [...] (Read More)

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Riparian Enhancement Projects

  • Watershed Habitat Mapping and Inventory 2013

    Project Synopsis: project will focus on springs, seeps and reservoirs in sage-grouse core habitat located within the Ruby Priority area. Other species of concern include: Bonneville and Colorado River Cutthroat trout, northern leopard frog, northern leatherside and roundtail chub, flannelmouth and bluehead suckers, big game, raptors and other migratory birds. Water resources will be mapped, inventoried and prioritized for future project/riparian developments. BLM mapped and inventoried approximately 190 reservoirs and 50 springs/seeps in 2011 (approximately one-third of the known springs, seep and reservoirs). BLM would like to continue this project and add to the existing knowledge. By using the data collected in 2011, in combination [...] (Read More)

  • Sibert Habitat Lease

    Strategies – Include developing a grazing strategy that is adaptable to meet WLCI’s habitat needs and those of the property owner. This plan will include a reporting component to inform WLCI on observed results for this project including reestablishment of native riparian vegetation, wetland improvements, amount of forage left for wildlife use on hay pasture, and camera use to demonstrate wildlife uses during winter. Water resources - Partners Fish & Wildlife Services and NRCS are initiating wetland water improvement projects on this private property. There is also a proposed project to deepen a reservoir to improve habitat for water fowl. The project, via the landowner will reestablishing riparian plant species along triple creek, [...] (Read More)

  • Sage-grouse Core Area Riparian Exclosure Project

    Project Synopsis: BLM Kemmerer Field Office (KFO) proposes to construct riparian exclosures within the “Sage” sage-grouse core area as designated by the Wyoming Governor’s Executive Order (EO 2011-5). During late summer, fall and early winter of 2011 the BLM mapped and inventoried approximately 190 reservoirs and 50 springs/seeps in the Ruby Priority Project area. After compiling 2011 data, the BLM identified several springs/seeps as priorities for protection/enhancement. The springs/seeps are repeatedly grazed to the extent that hummocks are forming or have already formed. Once hummocks form or start to form, the immediate threat is a high soil compaction which could result in a lower water table, the spring/seep migrating uphill, [...] (Read More)

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Aquatic Enhancement Projects

  • New Fork River Infiltration of Trace Organics

    Project Synopsis: the goal of this study is to define the potential accumulation of hydrocarbons in surface waters and aquatic habitats of the New Fork River and to establish a baseline of potential toxicological effects on aquatic life. (Read More)

  • Bitter Creek Restoration 2013

    This is a multi-year project to repair a diversion structure which is preventing a head-cut from continuing upstream. Objectives: 1) Reduce or halt erosion occurring at the headcut. 2) Halt the headcut progression which may infringe on and destabilize upstream railroad, highway, interstate, and mine PMT. 3) Halt the headcut progression into the upstream channel morphology and riparian regime. Strategies: • Detailed runoff and flow analysis to the headcut location for the associated 830 square mile drainage area. • Selection of the acceptable design event/peak design flow for the structure. • Determination of all permitting requirements, timeframes, and responsibilities. • Evaluation of the native material stability and excavation [...] (Read More)

  • RSFO-Currant Creek Habitat Restoration

    Project Synopsis: the strategy for restoring the habitat on Currant Creek is to permanently exclude unauthorized livestock from the stream and adjacent meadows unless livestock are authorized in the special use pasture. Livestock are only to be permitted to graze every 3rd year for 3 weeks or as approved by authorized officer. (It's been about ten years since grazing has been authorized in the area due to resource concerns.) The most imminent threat to the currant creek habitat is continual cattle drift into the drainage. This results in the unauthorized grazing of riparian vegetation and BLM projects such as willow, aspen, and other woody species plantings. The area is important habitat (ACEC area) for Colorado River cutthroat [...] (Read More)

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Sagebrush Enhancement Projects

  • Star Valley Front Rx Burn 2013

    The Star Valley Front project was brought up by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in the early 80's to help improve big game winter ranges. The project area contains mountain shrubland, big sagebrush, and aspen communities that are in less-than-suitable condition. The commumnities continue to decline due in large part to an over-representation of late-seral conditions and an insufficient frequency and extent of fire. Declining habitat conditions in the Star Valley Front project area are having negative effects on mule deer, elk, and moose due to declining forage conditions. Other wildlife species, including several migratory bird species, are being adversely impacted by the loss and decline in quality of mountain shrubland and aspen [...] (Read More)

  • BLM Ferris Mountain Prescribed Burn Phase 1

    Project Synopsis: the Ferris Mountain project area consists of mainly timbered slopes, interspersed with upland areas dominated by sagebrush, grass, and mountain shrub communities. Timber stands within the project unit consist of Douglas fir, subalpine fir, spruce, lodgepole pine, limber pine, and aspen, in addition to scattered locations of Rocky Mountain juniper. Long-term suppression of wildfires has promoted the encroachment of conifers into shrublands, aspen stands, and drainages supporting aspen, waterbirch and willows, to the point where many of these communities are non-functional. Decadence and disease is commonly observed in terms of mistletoe, blister rust, and bleeding rust, and pine beetles have killed many of the older [...] (Read More)

  • Flaming Gorge Halogeton

    This project will utilize specific treatments on southwestern Wyoming salt-desert shrublands that have been invaded by halogeton to improve habitat conditions. Treatments to improve habitat conditions will include a variety of soil preparation techniques such as traditional till and minimal till and seeding techniques including drilling and broadcast seeding. Monitoring of these areas will occur post treatment to determine the most effective methods for restoration. Treatment and monitoring of treatments will occur for at least two years as part of this proposal. Background: Western states have experienced overwhelming anthropogenic disturbances in recent decades. This has resulted in the introduction of numerous non-native plant [...] (Read More)

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Sage-Grouse Projects

  • Watershed Habitat Mapping and Inventory 2013

    Project Synopsis: project will focus on springs, seeps and reservoirs in sage-grouse core habitat located within the Ruby Priority area. Other species of concern include: Bonneville and Colorado River Cutthroat trout, northern leopard frog, northern leatherside and roundtail chub, flannelmouth and bluehead suckers, big game, raptors and other migratory birds. Water resources will be mapped, inventoried and prioritized for future project/riparian developments. BLM mapped and inventoried approximately 190 reservoirs and 50 springs/seeps in 2011 (approximately one-third of the known springs, seep and reservoirs). BLM would like to continue this project and add to the existing knowledge. By using the data collected in 2011, in combination [...] (Read More)

  • Sage-grouse Core Area Riparian Exclosure Project

    Project Synopsis: BLM Kemmerer Field Office (KFO) proposes to construct riparian exclosures within the “Sage” sage-grouse core area as designated by the Wyoming Governor’s Executive Order (EO 2011-5). During late summer, fall and early winter of 2011 the BLM mapped and inventoried approximately 190 reservoirs and 50 springs/seeps in the Ruby Priority Project area. After compiling 2011 data, the BLM identified several springs/seeps as priorities for protection/enhancement. The springs/seeps are repeatedly grazed to the extent that hummocks are forming or have already formed. Once hummocks form or start to form, the immediate threat is a high soil compaction which could result in a lower water table, the spring/seep migrating uphill, [...] (Read More)

  • Impacts of Ravens on Sage-grouse Nests in Southern Wyoming

    Project Synopsis: Raven control (removal) efforts of varying intensity have been carried out around lambing grounds in Lincoln, Sweetwater, Uinta, and Carbon counties in Wyoming by United States Department of Agriculture/Wildlife Services (WS). This has provided a unique opportunity to study the potential effects of raven removal on sage-grouse nest success. Increased anthropogenic development (energy development and urbanization) may have a negative impact on sage-grouse nesting success and productivity as a result of increased raven populations and raven depredation of sage-grouse nests. Structures associated with anthropogenic development may provide perches that ravens need to forage or ravens may be drawn to food provided around [...] (Read More)

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Wildlife Projects

  • Wyoming Range Mule Deer Habitat Project

    The Wyoming Range Mule Deer herd is Wyoming's largest deer herd and one of the largest in North America. Much of the winter range and transitional habitat for these deer is degraded, decadent, or otherwise unsuitable to sustain or improve herd health. In a comprehensive shrub assessment performed by Teton Science School on important winter ranges near La Barge and Big Piney, many areas were identified as needing treatments to improve forage conditions. This project would entail treating important mule deer habitat by using a variety of methods over a large landscape over a 10 year period. (Read More)

  • Sibert Habitat Lease

    Strategies – Include developing a grazing strategy that is adaptable to meet WLCI’s habitat needs and those of the property owner. This plan will include a reporting component to inform WLCI on observed results for this project including reestablishment of native riparian vegetation, wetland improvements, amount of forage left for wildlife use on hay pasture, and camera use to demonstrate wildlife uses during winter. Water resources - Partners Fish & Wildlife Services and NRCS are initiating wetland water improvement projects on this private property. There is also a proposed project to deepen a reservoir to improve habitat for water fowl. The project, via the landowner will reestablishing riparian plant species along triple creek, [...] (Read More)

  • Low Stress Livestock Handling

    The strategy of low stress livestock handling has been documented to increase stubble heights along greenlines. Intuitively one could assume that since there is a significant increase in stubble height, then that fact alone would make for 'enhanced' late brood rearing habitat for the Greater Sage Grouse. In addition to an increase in stubble heights this low stress strategy increased utilization of uplands. In this case, on the surface, it would appear that the low stress strategy 'decreased' the quality of nesting and early brood rearing habitat. On the surface, it appears the strategy of low stress livestock handling has both pros and cons that need to be addressed on a more relevant management scale. The purpose of this project [...] (Read More)

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Avian Species Projects

  • Impacts of Ravens on Sage-grouse Nests in Southern Wyoming

    Project Synopsis: Raven control (removal) efforts of varying intensity have been carried out around lambing grounds in Lincoln, Sweetwater, Uinta, and Carbon counties in Wyoming by United States Department of Agriculture/Wildlife Services (WS). This has provided a unique opportunity to study the potential effects of raven removal on sage-grouse nest success. Increased anthropogenic development (energy development and urbanization) may have a negative impact on sage-grouse nesting success and productivity as a result of increased raven populations and raven depredation of sage-grouse nests. Structures associated with anthropogenic development may provide perches that ravens need to forage or ravens may be drawn to food provided around [...] (Read More)

  • Cokeville Meadows Wetland Improvements

    This project will improve the irrigation meadows on the Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Engineering and Design will be provided to improve the condition of unused irrigation systems and pump and to install additional head gates and dikes. Planting and weed control will be done to restore 1,300 acres of irrigated meadow. This project will improve irrigation efficiency and flooding of approximately 1,300 acres of hay meadows that are currently unproductive. These improvements will increase nesting habitat for the American Bittern, White-face ibises and a variety of other wetland and waterfowl species. Additionally, once permanent vegetation is established the potential to use this area as a grass bank will be explored. This [...] (Read More)

  • Sweetwater County Invasive Weed Control

    There is a critical need to increase the level of control to minimize the economic and ecological impacts that invasive species cause. BLM has a commitment to Sweetwater County and private adjacent land owners for controlling weeds. Control of noxious weeds is a priority within the local county and the Bureau. Native wildlife species, including elk, mule deer, greater sage-grouse, mountain plovers, raptors, Colorado River cutthroat trout and many juniper obligates, are dependent on native vegetation for successful breeding, nesting, and food. Protection of their habitats is of primary importance. One community at risk is riparian habitat where invasive weeds are displacing native species. Weeds affect streams by changing the vegetation [...] (Read More)

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Invasive Species Treatment Projects

  • Condict Ranch Habitat Improvements II

    Project Synopsis: habitat conditions for both livestock and wildlife are less than desired due, in part, to past management practices on the ranch and inability to better control current cattle grazing location and timing. Plans are to provide water (successful water well drilled in 2011) and fencing for grazing management, habitat improvements on mule deer winter range including invasive plant species (juniper and cheatgrass) control, and riparian improvements in Wood Draw to remove invasive juniper and control noxious weeds including musk thistle and leafy spurge. (Read More)

  • Pepperweed Partnership

    Project Synopsis: this project would fund the labor for mechanical, biological, and chemical applications in an effort to gain control of Perennial pepperweed, Russian knapweed, whitetop, Marsh sowthistle, and saltcedar. The watershed drains into the North Platte River which currently does not have perennial pepperweed. This area has crucial winter range for deer and elk, and yearlong range for antelope. There are sage grouse wintering areas and brood-rearing habitat, as well as numerous leks, and mountain plover. There are perennial streams with several species of willow. There have been efforts to improve Sage Creek proper, which was listed on the 303d list of impaired streams due to habitat degradation, and was subsequently [...] (Read More)

  • Grey's River Ranger District Noxious Weed Control

    Strategies: a three-pronged approach will continue to be taken during the next three years, with WLCI funds primarily going toward the first "prong" (much of this in the Greys River drainage), and some funds going toward the second "prong": 1. Prevent the successful establishment of noxious weed species not yet established on National Forest System lands in the Greys River Ranger District. 2. Prevent the successful establishment of new infestations of spotted knapweed, leafy spurge, yellow toadflax, and Dyer’s woad beyond existing perimeters along roads, trails, and adjoining lands, and either eliminate existing patches or reduce the density of noxious weed densities to a point in which a native plant diversity is being approximated. [...] (Read More)

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