(Riverton, WY) – The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission met in Riverton this week for their last meeting of 2021. Concluding a big year for wildlife management, the Commission allocated $500,000 to the Kaycee to Buffalo wildlife crossing initiative on Interstate 25, which fully funds the $3.8 million dollar project.
The planned fencing and underpasses will reduce accidents with mule deer and white-tailed deer on a 15-mile stretch of road. Support came from 17 different funding sources, including partners, local government and donations from the public.
“We’re grateful to everyone who has supported this project— including private and public donors, Johnson County and private landowners,” said Angi Bruce, Game and Fish deputy director of external operations. “This stretch of I-25 has the second-highest vehicle-wildlife collision rate in the state, and we’re eager to start work to make a difference for the safety of people and wildlife.”
The Commission finalized rules for the collection of roadkilled-wildlife, following the law enacted from the 2021 Wyoming Legislature. While the regulation was approved by the Commission, no one can collect roadkill yet. The rule needs to be signed by the Governor before it is effective. Game and Fish will share more information on the finalized rules and required mobile/online reporting in the coming weeks and publicize the effective date.
There’s a new deadline for the Wyoming Super Tag and Super Tag Trifecta raffles to give winners more time to plan their hunts. The new deadline is Jan. 31, and that applies for the upcoming 2022 hunting season. Another deadline change: all landowner license deadlines now align with the application deadlines for nonlandowners. Landowner hunting license applications — like other license applications — must be submitted online.
In order to complete five high-priority projects, the Commission approved a total of $253,800 in one-time expenditures. The funds will support work Fall Creek to provide water for the department’s elk feedground draft horses; installation of a pivot at Spencer Moriarty Wildlife Management Area; monitoring for farm-raised sage grouse; an evaluation of the Sweetwater Rocks for a proposed bighorn sheep translocation and development of a mobile app with Wyoming Department of Transportation to authorize roadkill collection.
The Commission approved a change order for $25,991.20 for the construction of the new Cody Regional office. The change order is necessary to pay for costs associated with the water district’s requirements for the building’s back-flow design and widening the road entrance in cooperation with adjacent landowner. The department will be reimbursed for the roadwork.
To provide adequate water at the Commission’s South Park Wildlife Habitat Management Area, the site of future employee housing in the Jackson Region, the Commission approved spending up to $80,000 for a production well. The first well produced good water quantity; but, poor water quality would require costly filtering equipment and annual maintenance.
Commissioners — both current and former — commemorated the 100th year anniversary of the Commission and the work on behalf of Wyoming’s wildlife and people. Additionally, the department recognized employees for their notable work milestones with the State of Wyoming, including Lander’s Nongame Bird Biologist, Andrea Orabona for 35 years, Lander Wildlife Biologist, Stan Harter for 25 years and Boulder Hatchery Senior Fish Culturist Joe Gillis for 20 years.