Wildlife Friendlier Landscapes

We’re thinking big. Join us in corridor conservation throughout key migration areas of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. | Photo: Joe Riis

Wildlife Friendly Landscapes Vision

Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation (JHWF) connects people and land by promoting ways for communities to exist compatibly with wildlife. We advance a conservation vision that supports community-designed and implemented solutions to bene t wildlife. Our hands-on work encourages local participation at many levels, advancing a land ethic that values landscape permeability. We value science-based conservation actions, which is why we seek to utilize migration data to prioritize communities and corridors that are vital to long-term, landscape-scale wildlife conservation.

JHWF’s Wildlife Friendlier Fencing program, established in 1996, has now removed or modifed nearly 200 miles of fence to improve
conditions for migration. By replicating this work in other GYE communities – many tangibly connected by key migration routes – we can work collectively to ensure that there is ample space for wildlife to move between their summer and winter ranges.

The expanded Wildlife Friendly Landscapes program will remove or modify prioritized fences to improve key large mammal migration corridors near Jackson, Pinedale and Dubois.

Problem: Migration Barriers in the GYE

The array of wildlife present in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) today may not thrive into the future without significant planning and the engagement of those who reside in the region. Barriers to key large mammal migration corridors, such as fences, sever migration routes and vital “stopover” areas (where animals rest and forage along their migration routes), creating fragmented and isolated habitats that threaten long-term resilience for many species.

Solution: Connect Landscapes & People

Removing barriers within migration corridors, such as fences, can protect the integrity of vital movement corridors. By preserving large
landscapes across jurisdictions, we not only protect iconic migratory wildlife, but we also support the survival of hundreds or thousands
of other birds, mammals, amphibians and snakes, among other positive outcomes when improving large swaths of ethically-stewarded land.

Sustaining landscape-scale wildlife migration corridors requires many collaborators, and JHWF can facilitate partnerships at a local level. JHWF has a history of mobilizing local citizens and working collaboratively with agency partners, university researchers and landowners to remove barriers to wildlife movement.

JHWF’s grassroots, volunteer-supported model and hands-on approach reflects our belief that enduring conservation emerges from an engaged and committed community. Through on-the-ground work removing fences, people become highly invested in conservation and naturally become ambassadors in their communities about the importance of wildlife migrations. As we connect large landscapes, we aim also to connect the people on those culture that ensures enduring stewardship.

Maps such as this one above produced by the Wyoming Migration Initiative identify potential barriers, such as fence, within key migration corridors.

Source: Sawyer, H., M. Hayes, B. Rudd, and M. J. Kau man. 2014. The Red Desert to Hoback Mule Deer Migration Assessment. Wyoming Migration Initiative, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.

Pronghorn prefer to slide under fences, but this five-strand barbed-wire fence presented a barrier that forced an unsuccessful leap. Luckily, the entangled pronghorn was freed.
Photo: Joe Riis | Yellowstone Migrations: Preserving Freedom to Roam

Wildlife biologist Hall Sawyer discovers the longest ungulate migration in the lower 48, nearly 5000 mule deer migrate 150 miles in western Wyoming. The journey from the desert to the mountains that these deer undertake is truly remarkable. Sawyer’s groundbreaking science is combined with first ever migration footage from photographer Joe Riis to highlight and inspire the importance of conserving migration corridors around the world.

Film produced by Joe Riis and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Go to Wyoming Migration Initiative for more information.

We’re thinking big. Join us in corridor conservation!

JHWF’s grassroots, volunteer-supported model and hands-on approach reflects our belief that enduring conservation emerges from an
engaged and committed community. Through on-the-ground work removing fences, people become highly invested in conservation and naturally become ambassadors in their communities about the importance of wildlife migrations. As we connect large landscapes, we aim also to connect the people on those culture that ensures enduring stewardship.

The large-landscape, connected corridor vision is growing rapidly. New attention is being paid to migrations due to the formation of the Wyoming Migration Initiative at the University of Wyoming, prioritization from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and many recent migration studies (Sawyer et al. 2014, Middleton et al. 2013). In addition, there has been a surge in public interest in long distance migrations, especially in the Greater Yellostone Ecosystem (GYE), thanks to the May 2016 issue of National Geographic which highlighted elk migrations in and out of Yellowstone National Park, and the Invisible Boundaries exhibit by Arthur Middleton, Joe Riis and others. These efforts have given new purpose and importance to the work that JHWF has quietly been doing for the past 20+ years.

We aim to work with our long-standing agency and university partners to utilize data that identifies key migration corridors in Northwest Wyoming and expand our barrier-reduction work in Jackson, Pinedale and Dubois – communities connected by key migration routes. We will engage hundreds of citizens in each community who will help us remove or improve miles of problem fence, enhancing important corridors and “stopover” sites.

JHWF is uniquely poised to take the next step of utilizing completed scientific research and migration data to strategically apply on-the-ground conservation efforts. By replicating our model in other Northwest Wyoming communities, we can work collectively on a comprehensive scale to conserve migrations.

Parallel with this effort, we will work with the same communities to implement appropriate wildlife-vehicle collision mitigation measures inspired by our Give Wildlife a Brake program. Hundreds or even thousands of animals are hit each year on highways that sever migration corridors and sometimes become impassable barriers. We will augment these tangible corridor enhancement solutions with citizen participation in the environment via Nature Mapping, our citizen science program. People become more aware of what surrounds them every day by recording their observations and interactions with wildlife, and when multiple communities within the GYE collect and share data on all species, our region can look to a broader knowledge base as it designs conservation actions consistent with a participatory land ethic.

There are many ways for you to join us in this conservation work – with your hands, your eyes and your voice. These wildlife conservation goals are appropriately ambitious given the wild legacy we’ve inherited. Can we count on you to support our strategic corridor work?

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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