Strategic Habitat Plan Annual Report - 2012
Tags: WLCI Agency Report
Maintaining sustainable fish and wildlife populations in the face of complex and competing demands is one of the fundamental challenges facing the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission (WGFC) and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD). Biologists, conservationists, land managers, and private landowners have long recognized that habitat is one of the keys to answering the challenge. However, except for ownership and management of WGFC-held lands, the WGFC has no direct statutory authority for protecting, restoring or enhancing wildlife habitat. Since the management of wildlife is inseparable from the habitat that sustains it, we must work in concert with private landowners and public land managers, conservation organizations, elected officials, local, state and federal governmental agencies and the public. These partnerships are crucial to maintaining abundant wildlife now and into the future.
The WGFD has positioned itself to address habitat issues by assigning habitat-related duties to personnel in multiple Divisions and regions and developing, in 2001, its first Strategic Habitat Plan (SHP). The SHP was subsequently updated, revised and accepted by the WGFC in 2009 (see inside cover). The mission of the revised SHP is to “Promote and maintain the availability of high quality habitat to sustain and enhance wildlife populations in the future.” Our goals can be simply and generally summarized as: maintaining high quality existing habitats (goal 1), addressing issues on degraded habitats (goal 2), remembering the value of local enhancements for fish and wildlife populations (goal 3), communicating effectively with the public on habitat issues (goal 4), and working effectively with a myriad of partners (goal 5). An important component of this SHP and WGFD habitat efforts is the recognition of wildlife habitats that are “crucial” for wildlife under goal 1 and those habitats that have been degraded and have potential for “enhancement” under goal 2. Crucial priority areas for maintaining habitat values and enhancement priority areas for addressing habitat issues were identified when the SHP was revised in 2009. The priority areas also include WGFC managed lands.
This is the eleventh annual report for the WGFC, elected officials, governmental agencies, the public and our conservation partners since the first SHP report in 2001. The purpose of this report is to highlight the 2012 activities and SHP accomplishments of the Terrestrial Habitat, Aquatic Habitat, and Habitat and Access programs of the WGFD, as well as associated portions of the Lands Administration, Water Management, Information, Education and Publications and the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI). It is structured to reflect accomplishments and work activities as they relate to achieving SHP goals, which are referenced in project titles throughout the report. Many other WGFD personnel from all Division and Sections were involved in many aspects of the habitat program. Their involvement is critical to accomplishments reported herein.