Sibert Habitat Lease
Tags: livestock, habitat lease, habitat conservation project, wildlife, riparian, Habitat
Strategies â€" Include developing a grazing strategy that is adaptable to meet WLCIâ€™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, approximately ¾ of a mile of stream bank with native willows and possibly with narrow leaf cotton wood if soils support this plant species. There maybe a need to fence off plantings of native riparian vegetation for a short duration, protecting the new plants from wildlife and livestock.
Animal and plant species - Another action involves renting approximately 10 to 15 acres of pivot irrigated pasture for wildlife feed during the winter for the next five years. The property is located in mule deer crucial winter habitat in the Fort Bridger Valley and is associated with their migration in the valley. Elk also move across this property during the winter. This area is located in the sage grouse distribution area in Uinta County. Uinta County Weed & Pest is working with the landowner to control invasive species on this property.
Livestock & forage â€" Part of this project involves renting a portion of the private landowners grazing rights, at present the owner is running about 330 head of cattle for 3 plus months during the summer. WLCI will rent AUMs from the landowner at $145 per head per year. The total number of AUMs to be rented will be worked out between the landowner and a multiagency team monitoring the project on a yearly basis to influence ecological goals related with the project. To address issues during certain years it may be the goals of this team to rent more or less AUMs dependent on goals with monitoring to be designed to evaluate outcomes of the project.
Other ecological benefits can be discussed between the multiagency team and the landowner as this project develops over the next year. One main benefit of this project is to gain experience for WLCI on habitat leasing, getting a habitat lease on the ground and demonstrating positive or negative outcomes will afford WLCI the opportunity to expand on this tool to a watershed level (landscape scale) in the future, through the demonstration of this new tool to other potential partners.