Partnership invests Inflation Reduction Act dollars in projects across Western states over five years, benefiting big-game migration corridors and priority habitat for other species, including sage grouse
WASHINGTON – Critical wildlife habitat, including big-game migration corridors and sage grouse habitat, will benefit from a new partnership between the Bureau of Land Management and Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. Inflation Reduction Act dollars are underwriting the project work, which will be focused on a number of Western states, including California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Wyoming.
Under the partnership agreement, the BLM will invest $2.5 million over five years in BHA-led projects for fence modification and removal, habitat improvement and overall stewardship initiatives. Populations of pronghorn, mule deer, elk and bighorn sheep will benefit through the elimination of barriers to their movement and by improving habitat connectivity on and around BLM lands. Sagebrush country and critical habitat supporting grouse populations also stand to gain via targeted fence removals, which will reduce both fence-grouse collisions and predation perches for corvids and raptors.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Bureau of Land Management and leverage historic investments in conservation to elevate BHA’s commitment to improving connectivity for big game migration corridors,” said John Gale, BHA vice president of policy and government relations, “as well as scaling up our wildlife habitat stewardship projects across the West.
“Our outdoor traditions and Western heritage rely on the conservation of our natural resources, along with a shared obligation to ensure the health of our fish and wildlife populations,” Gale continued. “Through fence removal and modification, habitat restoration, work with ranchers, and inspiring future generations of habitat stewards, we can unite people around common values. By working with critical management agency partners like the BLM, we can establish a lasting model to inform all our conservation endeavors still to come.”
BHA is utilizing data provided by BLM wildlife staff and state fish and wildlife agencies to identify priority habitat, including fence work pinpointed for removal or modification within state action plans developed for Interior Department Secretarial Order 3362, “Improving Habitat Quality in Western Big Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors.”
“To complement removal and modification of fence work in known areas of need, we will actively work to inventory fencing in additional areas of overlap with priority habitat, in coordination with staff with the BLM and state fish and wildlife agencies,” said Britt Parker, BHA habitat stewardship coordinator. “Our expectation is that this work will reduce barriers to wildlife migration and movement across public lands in the West, thereby improving habitat as well as climate adaptation for a range of big-game species and other wildlife species, such as sage grouse.
“At the heart of BHA lies the engaged dedication of our chapter leaders and grassroots members,” Parker stated. “We’ll be relying on volunteer muscle as we work to advance this project work, via a combination of direct employee efforts and organized volunteer stewardship workdays, through which BHA will leverage volunteers, supporters and corporate partners to improve habitat for wildlife across the West.”
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