ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. –-(Ammoland.com)- Miles Moretti, CEO and President of the Mule Deer Foundation (MDF), announced that Phase IV of the Farson Landowners’ Landscape Initiative has been approved and funded by the Wyoming Legislature and the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust at $339,170.00.
This project, on 196,000 acres of private and public (BLM) lands near Eden and Farson in Southwest Wyoming, is in the fourth of five phases designed to enhance habitat for wildlife and livestock in a multiple-use agricultural community.
Work will begin on Phase IV later this month with the planting of curled-leaf mahogany and serviceberry seedling shrubs for mule deer and elk winter forage use on Rock Springs Grazing Association lands. Other components of this project include: conversion of existing fences to wildlife friendly fencing, native wildlife habitat restoration and erosion control on BLM lands, and replacement of a pipeline supplying wildlife and livestock water sources on BLM lands.
Previous phases of this landscape project included: riparian habitat improvement techniques, wildlife and livestock habitat restoration plantings, wildlife water guzzler developments, native vegetation plantings on noxious weed control sites, wildlife/livestock drinking water developments for range enhancement, and native vegetation plantings and reclamation in targeted disturbed areas.
The project began in 2008 when Shell Oil Company (Shell) gave a donation of $500,000.00 to the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust to do habitat improvements in the Upper Green River Basin and created partnerships with several landowners, the Rock Springs Grazing Association, and the Mule Deer Foundation, which is the official sponsor of the initiative.
The participating landowners have taken a lead role with the support of Shell, the Mule Deer Foundation and the Bureau of Land Management in a landscape-level conservation plan to improve habitat for wildlife “species of concern” and to achieve and maintain range habitat goals with benefits to agriculture and wildlife.
“Shell seeks to work collaboratively to find solutions to challenges in and around the communities where we operate,” said Richard Newsom, General Manager for Shell Upstream Americas Rockies Region. “This initiative, based on sound wildlife and agriculture science, is consistent with the principles that guide our business. The sum of all the parts of this cooperative endeavor will serve the people, wildlife and landscape of Southwest Wyoming well for decades to come.”
MDF has taken a leadership role in working with industry, other non-governmental conservation organizations, and state and federal agencies across the West in promoting one of the organization’s key goals which is “to encourage and support responsible wildlife management with government agencies, private organizations and landowners.”
Miles Moretti said, “This project started during the 20th Anniversary of the Mule Deer Foundation, and I am proud to see it continue in 2013 during our 25th Anniversary.” He continued, “The local chapters of MDF are our life blood, and it is extremely gratifying to see that our newest chapter, the Southwest Wyoming Chapter in Rock Springs, which will have their inaugural banquet on April 20, has already stepped up to the plate with offers to assist in the seedling plantings on April 23.”
Bob Budd, Executive Director of the Trust, complimented Shell on this voluntary commitment, and the Mule Deer Foundation for sponsoring the project, saying, “This is a project that can be duplicated throughout the West when we all come to realize that we have common interests and a common goal. Shell and the people in the Eden Valley have done great work, and we can all learn from both their successes and mistakes. Most of all, we need to realize that efforts like this will help us to maintain the natural resource heritage we treasure and the economy we desire.”
The Mule Deer Foundation is one of the key conservation groups in North America working to restore, improve and protect mule deer, black-tailed deer and their habitat, with a focus on science and program efficiency. MDF encourages and supports responsible wildlife management with government agencies, private organizations and landowners. MDF acknowledges regulated hunting as a viable management component and is committed to recruitment and retention of youth into the shooting sports and conservation. Get involved at www.muledeer.org or call 1-888-375-3337.