came to the arid West, water and raw materials were critical for progress and development.
Large irrigation reservoirs and diversions were constructed on rivers and streams, and
conveyance ditches were used to deliver water to newly cultivated fields. Forests were
logged to supply construction lumber for growing communities, mineral industry, and rail
companies. The once open grasslands and sage steppes were constrained by fences as the
large herds of native migratory animals such as bison, elk, and pronghorn antelope were
replaced with domestic livestock. The biological system that once evolved due to the dry
climate, fires, and great herds of migratory wildlife was brought under control. These
visible and quantitative landscape conversions are long-standing, yet more subtle and
possibly damaging conversions continue to occur today. Native plants, wildlife, and fish
are being replaced by uninvited exotic invaders, changing the composition, structure, and
function of the ecosystem. Habitat fragmentation by unchecked expanding urbanization and
mineral industry activities continues to be a major threat to fish and wildlife.
An important landscape feature of
Wyoming is the 2 million acres of wetlands scattered across the state. In arid climates
such as Wyoming, these critical areas are home for many resident and migratory wildlife
species. In fact, over 75% of all wildlife species rely on these wetlands for a part, or
all of their lifecycle.
Oxbow restoration in the Lower
Missouri River Drainage.
In portions of the state,
significant wetland complexes or concentrations exist and are targeted as focal areas for
Partners work. These areas are located predominantly in the Laramie Plains, Goshen Hole,
Wind River Indian Reservation, Great Basin, and New Fork Pothole Region of the Upper Green
The state is divided into five major
river drainages (Focus Areas), as generally defined by the boundaries of the Intermountain
West Joint Venture:
- Snake/Salt River
- Green/Bear River
- Wind/Bighorn River
- Lower Missouri
- Platte River
Most Partners projects in Wyoming
involve a combination of restorations. The cost for riparian fencing is about $7,000 per
mile. Grassland restoration and enhancement costs about $4.55 per acre. Wetland
restoration costs about $1,200 per acre.
- Restore 15,000 acres of wetlands
- Restore or enhance 5 million acres of
- Restore 1,000 miles of riparian habitat
- Restore 1,000 miles of in-stream habitat