The objective of the project is to improve the infrastructure of the Red Rim Wildlife Habitat Management Area (WHMA) as well as conduct habitat improvements. Two windmills will be upgraded to solar pumps and panels. Six and a half miles of fence will be converted from woven wire to wildlife friendly fencing and 8 miles of fence will have single strand conversion to meet BLM and WGFD wildlife standards (i.e. the bottom wire is too low or the top wire is too high). An exclosure will be erected around a riparian area to keep cattle out, sagebrush will be thinned (approx. 140 acres), weeds will be treated (approx. 200 acres) and native grasses and legumes sown (approx. 170 acres).
The Red Rim WHMA is located southwest of Rawlins, WY and is located in T 19-21N, R 89-90W. The vegetation is primarily sagebrush with a riparian area along Separation Creek. It contains 26,083 acres, 13,498 of which are owned by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission (WGFC). The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages 11,305 acres and 1,280 acres are managed by the State of Wyoming. The WHMA is located on a WGF priority area.
Improved fencing will allow better movement for all wildlife, especially pronghorn, by eliminating woven and five-wire fencing. The future goal for management of the unit is to create a forage reserve where ranchers can rest their pastures in exchange for use on the WHMA. With nonfunctioning windmills and little water in Separation Creek, we need to provide consistent water sources to allow cattle distribution across the unit. By creating dispersed water sources, cattle will be better distributed across the landscape and are less likely to concentrate along Separation Creek. By dispersing cattle and increasing riparian vegetation, wildlife such as elk, mule deer, pronghorn and sage grouse will have better forage and cover. Much of the sagebrush has become very dense and needs to be thinned to increase growth of grasses and forbs. Weeds such as halogeton, Canada thistle and white top are out competing native species and need to be removed to improve forage. Weeds will need to be spot treated for several years following the initial treatment.
2010 Update: Forty three acres of noxious weed control were completed in 2009. In 2009 two existing water wells were converted to solar panel & pump setups. In 2010-2011 eight to twelve miles of fence conversions and modifications will be completed (by June 30, 2011.) Other work in 2010-2011 will include two more solar panel and pump installations on existing water wells. All work is designed to improve conditions for wildlife habitat and livestock grazing.