Wildlife Friendlier Fencing Legacy

Encouraging a land ethic at an early age is one way to ensure that wildlife thrive in the future. Here, 8 year-old Jackson Darin knocks out a top rail as part of a fence removal.

VOLUNTEER

Snake River Levee Wildlife Ramps

Making a wildlife-supporting corridor of the Snake River more permeable and safer for wildlife movement.

VOLUNTEER

Wildlife Friendlier Fencing Program

The West is laced with thousands of miles of fence. Removing fences entirely opens up landscapes to unrestricted wildlife movement, but in many cases agricultural fences remain a necessary element of the Western landscape. The good news is that those fences can serve a purpose that meets human needs while being friendlier to wildlife movement. While working with landowners to identify feasible ways to accommodate wildlife movement and make fences safer for wildlife, we can create permeable landscapes and demonstrate a wildlife-friendly community’s commitment to a shared land ethic.

When animals attempt to jump barbed wire fences, they occasionally get caught in the top two strands of wire and become ensnared until they die. Many animals die each year in this preventable way. In addition to the possibility of entanglement or mortality, unfriendly fences also present less obvious barriers to wildlife movement. Animals uncomfortable crossing what appears to be an impenetrable fence may change their route significantly and expend valuable energy reserves that are particularly precious in winter. This can affect their ability to survive during winter months, especially if the animal is very young or old.

Learn More in “A Wyoming Landowner’s Handbook to Fences and Wildlife”

View Teton County, Wyoming’s Wildlife Friendly Fencing Regulations

While we know that fences can be problematic in many ways, we also know that simple solutions are available. Our “Fence Team” is eager to discuss and implement those solutions with many private and public partners in 2016. Let us know if you have an unfriendly fence that needs some friendly modification, or if you’d like us to help remove it completely. We our grateful to hundreds of volunteers who have helped us remove or modify 183.1 miles of fence over the past 20 years, many of who remain ready to pitch in this summer along with new folks who want to give back to wildlife.

2016 “Fence Team”

The sheer volume of fence program work necessitates a core of volunteers who act as the “Fence Team.” They help to coordinate volunteer efforts and on-the-ground logistics, ensuring that there is always an experienced fence specialist on every project site. JHWF values and will rely upon the commitment of the following individuals to accomplish its work in 2016.

Gretchen Plender
Randy Reedy
Bob Kopp
Steve Morriss
Scott Landale

Snake River Levee Wildlife Ramps Project

This summer we’ll make it easier for wildlife to navigate the Snake River levee in key migration locations. Many miles of jagged rock form virtual walls along this critical corridor, designed to prevent the mighty, twisting Snake from flooding our residential neighborhoods. The rock walls make it extremely difficult or even dangerous for moose, elk, deer, coyotes and other wildlife to reach the life-supporting waterway, and crossing the levee-restrained river is an immense challenge to an animal searching for the best available food sources.

We placed a camera trap on a “test” gravel infill ramp and have since captured hundreds of images of wildlife selectively and preferentially opting for the ramp rather than negotiate the treacherous rock, even when snow covers the ramp, fulfilling our hope that once they found it, they would use it. Again and again, we see that modifications to our human constructs can make life easier for wildlife, and that wildlife will always amaze us with how quickly they find the path of least resistance. We’re happy to do our part to live compatibly with our wild friends.

Read a story about the wildlife ramps in the Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Habitat Restoration Projects

We partner with Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park and other agencies to augment their habitat restoration efforts, particularly in areas where we can fortify critical habitat or strengthen migration corridors in “stopover” or “bottleneck” areas. Similar to the wildlife friendlier fence program and most of our on-the-ground work, we’re thinking about ways to improve conditions at a landscape scale. As movements of many species are becoming better understood, and the factors contributing to migration are rapidly changing, we feel it is important to remove as many potential barriers as possible. We’ll provide opportunities for volunteers to contribute to this vital work this summer. We hope you will join us!

Miles of Fences Updated

Volunteers Past 5 yrs.

# Projects Past 5 yrs.

Volunteer Hours Past 5 yrs.

The 183 miles of fence removed or modified by JHWF's volunteers and partners could encircle Grand Teton National Park.

Free to Roam

The short film “Free to Roam” documents the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation’s Wildlife Friendlier Fencing Program, which celebrated its 20th year in 2016.

Created by Sava Malachowski and Valerie Schramm of Open Range Films, it chronicles the history of the program, the need for the work, and the dedication of hundreds of volunteers!

20th Anniversary of Wildlife Friendlier Fencing Celebrated at National Museum of Wildlife Art

Thanks to all who joined us for our celebration of our Wildlife Friendlier Fencing program on August 27th. Long-time friends and volunteers of the fence program chatted with newcomers during a reception that preceded the premiere of “Free to Roam,” a 10-minute film about the fence program by Open Range Films.

Thanks also to our special presenter Gregory Nickerson of the Wyoming Migration Initiative (WMI) for making the night even more memorable with an informative presentation about his recent research into the history and archaeology of big game migrations in Wyoming, which indicates that many of these migrations have been around for thousands of years. He also discussed recent WMI research evaluating the threats these migrations face today and how migration science is being shaped and communicated to catalyze the long-term conservation of big game migration corridors.

Photo Credits:

Henry Holdsworth
Mark Gocke
Steve Morriss
Sava Malachowski
Leine Stikkel
Tim Griffith
Jon Mobeck

Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation

330 N. Glenwood Street
Jackson, WY 83002
(307) 739-0968
All rights reserved.

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