Wyoming Migration Fund to Benefit Working Lands, Big Game Habitat

The Pooled Migration Fund serves as a catalyst to significant federal investments in Wyoming

Buffalo, WY – March 6, 2023 – The WYldlife Fund, a nonprofit partner of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, announced the first recipients of grant funding from its new Pooled Migration Fund. The grant funding is intended to enhance voluntary conservation of private, working lands and Tribal lands within big game migration corridors.

“Private landowners and Tribal partners provide important habitat for wildlife,” said WYldlife Fund President Chris McBarnes. “We’re proud this new effort can accelerate their stewardship efforts, which keeps working lands working and Wyoming’s proud wildlife heritage intact.”

The Pooled Migration Fund supports stewardship of private and tribal lands within the state-designated Platte Valley, Baggs and Sublette mule deer migration corridors, as well as multispecies seasonal ranges in the Shoshone River valleys and Wind River Indian Reservation. It is supported by philanthropic grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Wilburforce Foundation and BAND Foundation.

Recipients of the first round of the Pooled Migration Fund grant are the Greater Yellowstone Coalition: $175,000, Jackson Hole Land Trust: $200,000, The Nature Conservancy: $112,156, Western Landowners Alliance: $200,000 and Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust: $228,350.

“The Pooled Migration Fund is part of a new model of federal, state and philanthropic partnerships aimed at sustaining our state’s working and Tribal lands and wildlife,” McBarnes added.

The Pooled Migration Fund compliments the recent partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture and the State of Wyoming through the Big Game Conservation Partnership. The now $22 million pilot partnership — which initially started at $16 million — was established to allow producers to simultaneously manage their land for livestock, wildlife and migration corridors.

“This initiative recognizes and supports the critical role that working lands play in sustaining public wildlife,” said Lesli Allison, executive director of the Western Landowners Alliance. “The state’s iconic big game populations and migration corridors would not exist were it not for the ranches and farms that keep the land open and provide the habitat wildlife need to survive. WLA applauds the leadership from landowners, Governor Gordon, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, the WYldlife Fund, and the many other partners and funders who have come together in support of this exciting new chapter in conservation.”

“Wyoming’s landowners provide productive wildlife habitat across our state and this initiative focused on wildlife movement is really important,” said Brian Nesvik, Director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “This partnership is opening new doors to put wildlife conservation on the ground.”

“The US Department of Agriculture is very excited to be working alongside the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Wyldlife Fund, and these grant recipients to support a voluntary, locally-led approach to the conservation of Wyoming’s iconic big game migrations,” said Dr. Arthur Middleton, Senior Advisor for Wildlife Conservation in USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation Mission Area.

The WYldlife Fund expects to announce another Request for Proposals for grant funding from the Pooled Migration Fund this fall.    

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