The Wildlife & Habitat Program works closely with other District staff and partners to gather data, interpret, analyze and make recommendations to determine and improve wildlife and habitat resources, while protecting and enhancing the socio-economics of the people of Sublette County. To accomplish this, the two-fold emphasis of this program is to: help landowners through conservation planning, perform inventory, analysis and development of their lands’ resources; and to research, plan and develop Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) for producers.
Great Conservation Idea Grant-Greater Sage Grouse Projects
click here for the application
Managing wildlife habitat through ranching operations is an evolving service produced by landowners. Habitat fragmentation through development activities is considered a primary threat to Sage-grouse, as well as many other wildlife species. In Sublette County, ranchers are the primary land stewards which provide high quality livestock and wildlife habitat through management activities. Wildlife species have different needs and balancing priorities can be tough. So instead of asking what don’t I have, ask what do I have? Identifying these associated opportunities and resource concerns is an important piece of your roadmap so you can make the most informed decisions regarding management of your operation.
The District has been assisting with resource inventories since 2008, adding to the approximately 30 Sublette County Landowners with a comprehensive Conservation Plan for their ranching operations.
Payment for Environmental Services:
Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) is an innovative way to provide financial incentives or compensation to private landholders for engaging in environmentally or socially beneficial activities. Through a collaborative effort, willing sellers (e.g. landowners) provide these defined ecosystem services through management activities. The activities are funded by willing buyers, who might be energy development companies looking to receive mitigation credits for their activities, local or national recreation/conservation organizations, or home-owners in the region.
SCCD, in partnership with the University of Wyoming and The Nature Conservancy, have been investigating the feasibility of a PES market in the Upper Green River Basin. The team has been involved in three related efforts: assessing feasibility of these types of markets; establishing metrics that will facilitate in valuation of the ecosystem services (for example, wildlife habitat(s) and riparian function) provided by the land; and ultimately developing a credit trading program.
January 2013 Update on Upper Green River Payment for Ecosystem Services Pilot Project
June 26, 2013 Update on Upper Green River Payment for Ecosystem Services Pilot Project
Here are briefing papers, describing the potential for PES in the upper Green River Basin:
MacKinnon, A. 2006. Suitability of a Program of Compensation for Environmental Services for the Rural Rocky Mountains.
Duke, E. et al. December 2011. Upper Green River Basin Ecosystem Services, Feasibility Analysis Project Report.
The third leg of the PES Effort is investigation and development of market concept. We refer to that effort as the Upper Green River Conservation Exchange. Here is a summary: Upper Green River Conservation Exchange
(A website is under Construction. A link will be provided when available.)
The Upper Green River Conservation Exchange is a performance-based market mechanism for maintaining and/or improving riparian function, Greater sage-grouse and mule deer habitat. This effort, currently under development, builds on the feasibility analysis and pilot project projects described above.
More information about the Upper Green River Conservation Exchange is available by contacting one of the following individuals:
Melanie Purcell Sublette County Conservation District firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristi Hansen University of Wyoming email@example.com
Ted Toombs Environmental Defense Fund firstname.lastname@example.org
Providing the District with Expertise in Wildlife and Habitat, we are also involved in the following planning and project efforts
Little Sandy Watershed Planning Steering Committee
Upper Green River Basin Sage-Grouse Local Work Group
Sublette County Invasive Species Task Force
Click here to learn about Cheatgrass
Sage Grouse Raven Control Project
Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative Local Project Development Team