States including Idaho and Wyoming to study big game range land - Casper, WY Oil City News
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States including Idaho and Wyoming to study big game range land

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CASPER, Wyo. —  Eleven states have been awarded a grant to study large game migration, according to the US Department of the Interior

States that received grants are Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

The grant, announced by the U.S. Department of the Interior on Friday, is part of $3.2 million in funding for big game rangeland studies in 11 western states.

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The funding supports 19 priority research projects chosen by recipient state wildlife agencies to help identify priority corridors or winter range areas, enhance data analysis and mapping and identify movement corridors that either cross or are impeded by highways.

The Secretary’s Order directs appropriate bureaus within the Department to work in close partnership with the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming to enhance and improve the quality of big-game winter range and migration corridor habitat on Federal lands.

“Big game species migrate across thousands of miles of federal, state, Tribal and private lands during their annual journeys,” a Department of the Interior announcement said Friday. “Secretary’s Order 3362 fosters improved collaboration with states and private landowners and coalesces these groups around robust science to more effectively and efficiently target on-the-ground conservation in the highest priority, scientifically-defined migration corridors or winter range areas.”

Last year, the Department says they supported 17 research projects with similar grants that totaled more than $3.2 million.

“Over the first two years of implementing Secretary’s Order 3362, $6.4 million has supported 36 research projects vital to scientifically identifying migration corridors and seasonal use areas (i.e. winter range),” the Department of the Interior says. “In addition to funding state-defined priority research projects, the Department has made available another $1.4 million over two years to assist state wildlife agencies with big game movement data analysis and corridor mapping, and almost $14.4 million has been matched in partnership-assisted grant funding for direct habitat conservation in support of the Order.”

Of the recently funded projects, eight focus on mule deer, six on elk and five on pronghorn.

Big game species such as deer, elk and pronghorn contribute to the West’s quality of life and provide hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “These grants will help states further their scientific research to ensure sustainable wildlife populations and improve the ongoing, collaborative, on-the-ground efforts to conserve habitat for these animals for generations to come.”