WGFD Spending Thousands to Provide Water for Livestock

A stock tank with a solar pump, which is fed by the new water well provided by the WGFD

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) is using $340,000 in grant funding to improve range conditions on private properties northeast of Gillette and in the Thunder Basin National Grassland.

The funds are providing additional water sources, enabling the WGFD to install over 5,000 feet of pipeline, three watering tanks and cover the cost of drilling one new water well. They are also being used to install and replace 11 miles of fencing designed to safely contain livestock while allowing wildlife to cross, according to a WGFD news release.

Todd Caltrider, WGFD Terrestrial Habitat Biologist, is hopeful the projects will reduce grazing pressure of livestock and wildlife in areas heavily trafficked due to the availability of water.

“The livestock congregate near the few water sources and utilize these mesic areas heavily while other areas further from water get very little grazing pressure,” Caltrider said in a statement.

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By making water more readily available, Caltrider believes that both livestock and wildlife will disperse more, which will give areas that experience concentrated grazing pressure a chance to recover.

Caltrider also believes the projects will improve brood-rearing habitat for sage grouse and fawn-rearing habitat for mule deer in the coming months.

The projects are the result of a 2018 coalition between the WGFD and the Spring Creek Grazing Association. The funds have come from the WGFD Habitat Trust, the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Funding was also provided by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.