The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced $4 million in grant funding for habitat projects in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming to conserve migration corridors and winter ranges for elk, mule deer, pronghorn and other iconic wildlife. The grants will leverage $21.6 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation impact of $25.6 million.
The grants were awarded through the Improving Habitat Quality in Western Big Game and Migration Corridors Program (Western Big Game Migration Program), a public-private partnership between NFWF and the U.S. Department of Interior, with funding provided by the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, ConocoPhillips, BNSF Railways and Microsoft.
Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF said, “We learn more about western wildlife migrations every year. This new information helps us focus conservation investments and on-the-ground efforts in places and habitats that are critical to ensuring a better future for wildlife species that move across the vast landscapes of the American West. With the steadfast commitment shown by our state, federal and private partners, these special places can be protected and conserved, to the benefit of both wildlife and people.”
The projects supported by the 16 grants announced today will enhance and improve habitats on state-identified priority winter ranges, stopover areas and migration corridors that are used by big game species.
Brian Nesvik, director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said, “The continued funding affirms a broad commitment to Wyoming’s existing policies to conserve migration corridors. Through our partnership with NFWF over the last several years, the department has been able to work with private landowners and federal land management agencies to put important conservation practices on the ground including fence modifications, invasive species management and other vegetation treatments in habitats used by migratory mule deer and antelope.”
Projects are located on federal and private lands, and work with owners who volunteer to participate in conservation efforts. These projects support biodiversity through securing and improving connectivity and facilitating climate resiliency. The efforts of this partnership help to ensure healthy populations of these iconic animals.