Improving Habitat Quality in Western Big Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors
The Improving Habitat Quality in Western Big Game and Migration Corridors Program aims to conserve critical winter range and migration corridors to maintain healthy populations of pronghorn, elk and mule deer, and the phenomenon of big game migration. The program is working with conservation partners across Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
The western United States is home to some of the largest herds of wild native ungulates in North America. However, the seasonal migrations many of these populations rely on in response to weather conditions and resource availability face significant threats. Habitat fragmentation often limits the availability of high-quality forage and cover, and poor habitat condition limits the health and reproductive success of the herd.
Modern improvements in wildlife science such as global positioning collars and remote sensing technologies allow us to learn and adapt management efforts with precision. Utilizing technology and the priorities of state game and fish agencies narrows the geographic scope of projects while increasing the project efficiency and return on investment.
This program aims to conserve critical winter range and migration corridors through:
- Restoring degraded priority winter range, stopover areas and migration corridors by activities identified in the State Action Plans such as removing encroaching trees from sagebrush ecosystems, rehabilitating areas damaged by fire or treating exotic/invasive vegetation to improve the quality and value of these areas to big game and other wildlife.
- Working cooperatively with private landowners and State highway departments to achieve permissive fencing measures including potentially modifying, removing, installing or seasonally adapting fencing if proven to impede movement of big game through priority migration corridors.
- Conservation easements and management agreements, or other actions to protect bottlenecks within corridors and other areas within priority winter range, stopover areas threatened by fragmentation.
- Utilizing other proven actions necessary to improve the habitat quality or restore priority big-game winter range, stopover areas or migration corridors across the West.
The Improving Habitat Quality in Western Big Game and Migration Corridors Program is a result of Interior Secretarial Order 3362 and a partnership between NFWF and the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and ConocoPhillips.