Interior Department Announces Nearly $12 Million to Protect and Restore Western Wildlife Habitats and Migration Corridors


Bureau of Land Management

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WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced $11.8 million for 10 projects in seven states that will help restore habitat connectivity and secure key migration corridors for wildlife in the American West. A total of $3 million in grants and $8.8 million in matching contributions will be invested to protect migratory species like elk, mule deer, and pronghorn and their habitats in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Wyoming. 

“Healthy habitats and interconnected spaces to live and roam are key for the sustainability of species,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “The Biden-Harris administration is strengthening public-private partnerships and employing an all-of-government approach to ensure the conservation of fish and wildlife in the West and across America through the protection of key migration corridors and habitats.” 

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Tracy Stone-Manning and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Martha Williams highlighted the announcement at the 89th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

The grants are made possible through the Western Big Game Seasonal Habitat and Migration Corridors Fund, which is administered by NFWF in-part through annual appropriations funding from the BLM, FWS, and the Department of Agriculture. The funding supports Secretary’s Order 3362, which seeks to enhance and improve the quality of big-game winter range and migration corridor habitat on federal lands. Today's funding builds on nearly $25 million in funding the Department and NFWF announced in 20212022 and 2023. This work supports the President’s America the Beautiful initiative, which aims to conserve, connect and restore 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030. 

Today’s announcement supplements historic funding through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which is supporting critical projects to restore habitats, strengthen landscape resilience, and put create good-paying jobs to restore America’s lands and waters in partnership with Tribes, private landowners, hunting and conservation organizations, and state wildlife management agencies. 

Last month, Secretary Haaland announced more than $157 million from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to restore our nation’s lands and waters through locally led, landscape-scale restoration projects. The funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will support 206 ecosystem restoration projects in 48 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Territories and will advance the Department’s ongoing work across several restoration and resilience programs. 

Projects receiving grants and matching contributions are listed below: 


Managing Woody Invasives to Improve Habitat Quality on Perrin Ranch State Lands Grassland  

Grantee: Arizona Elk Society 

Grant Amount: $130,000 

Matching Funds: $130,000 

Total Project Amount: $260,000 

Improve winter habitat quality for migrant and resident mule deer, elk and pronghorn. Project will restore a minimum of 650 acres of grasslands in Northern Arizona by managing the encroachment of woody invasives. 

Restoring Beaver Creek Watershed to Improve Habitat Connectivity  

Grantee: Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District 

Grant Amount: $489,500 

Matching Funds: $3,376,500 

Total Project Amount: $3,866,000 

Restore wildlife habitat and connectivity, reduce wildfire risk, protect water supplies, communities, infrastructure and improve forest resiliency. Project will restore approximately 3,920 acres by removing invading woody species from grasslands and former healthy woodlands that will allow native grass, browse, and forb species to return. 


Restoring Steven's Prairie to Enhance Elk Habitat and Establish New Herds  

Grantee: Yurok Tribe 

Grant Amount: $181,393 

Matching Funds: $181,393 

Total Project Amount: $362,786 

Enhance meadow habitat for Roosevelt elk and provide a stopover site both for dispersing elk from saturated populations and for the establishment of new herds on Yurok lands. Project will survey and identify priority habitat in 160 acres; restore 80 acres of degraded prairie through removal of encroaching trees and invasive plants; establish a 25-acre fuel break along the perimeter of the restored site; and place 440 acres under various planning stages to improve management. 


Enhancing Elk Habitat Through Vegetation Treatments in Hay Flats 

Grantee: US Forest Service 

Grant Amount: $200,000 

Matching Funds: $199,896 

Total Project Amount: $399,896 

Enhance elk habitat through vegetation treatments in mountain shrub and aspen communities within the vicinity of Hay Flats. Project will improve 2.25 acres of fencing, treat 430 acres with mechanical methods would create a mosaic of snowberry regrowth and allow understory species to take hold, and treat 220 acres with mastication and hand felling to increase forage, cover, and movement opportunities for elk in spring production areas, summer and winter habitat, and movement corridors. 

Protecting Migration Corridors via the Wolf Mountain VII Conservation Easement  

Grantee: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 

Grant Amount: $100,000 

Matching Funds: $1,977,882 

Total Project Amount: $2,077,882 

Conserve vital aspen woodlands, sagebrush, and riparian habitat, as well as a migration corridor and pathway for two of Colorado’s largest migratory herds. Project will permanently protect approximately 1,630 acres of migration corridors for elk and winter range for mule deer, secure habitat connectivity through the valley bottom and highly developable lands near State Highway 40, protect five stream miles, and support a host of other wildlife, including greater sage grouse.  


Modifying Fencing to Improve the Migration Route Across Highway 28 

Grantee: The Mule Deer Foundation 

Grant Amount: $317,922 

Matching Funds: $300,000 

Total Project Amount: $617,922 

Support passage-success of migratory mule deer and elk, reduce animal-vehicle collisions, and simultaneously increase safety for motorists. Project will extend a wildlife funnel fence project on Highway 28 by reconnecting three miles of corridor, improve 10 miles of fencing, remove two miles of fencing, and increase the passage success rate to 95%.


Collaborating with Montana Grassland Partnership to Improve Big Game Migration 

Grantee: Ranchers Stewardship Alliance, Inc. 

Grant Amount: $275,000 

Matching Funds: $275,000 

Total Project Amount: $550,000 

Support, connect, and contribute to the partnership of big game migration work being done under the umbrella of the Montana Grassland Partnership as part of the Ranchers Stewardship Alliance (RSA) Conservation Committee. Project will work to improve nine miles of fencing, remove nine miles of unneeded fencing, restore 1,000 acres of grassland for added habitat and add a Conservation Director position with RSA to better serve the RSA project area and collaborate within the Montana Grassland Partnership. 


Protecting Migration Habitat via a Fee Title Transfer to the Warm Springs Indian Reservation  

Grantee: Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation 

Grant Amount: $199,998 

Matching Funds: $716,350 

Total Project Amount: $916,348 

Protect migration corridors in high use areas in the Metolious winter range. Project will transfer 300-acre acquisition to the Confederated Tribe of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. 

Treating Invasives to Improve Migration Corridors for Elk and Nesting Habitat for Sage Grouse (OR) 

Grantee: Crook County Soil and Water Conservation District 

Grant Amount: $190,609 

Matching Funds: $213,586 

Total Project Amount: $404,195 

Enhance understory conditions in sagebrush habitats, which will improve conditions for a host of species including sagebrush obligates and improve migration and seasonal habitat for a variety of wildlife species. Project will restore 415 acres of migration habitat for elk and mule deer as well as seasonal habitat for sage grouse through the removal of woody invasives.


Restoring Big Game Migration Corridors for Bates Hole, Dubois and Platte Valley Mule Deer Herds 

Grantee: Wyoming Game and Fish Department 

Grant Amount: $961,250 

Matching Funds: $961,250 

Total Project Amount: $1,922,500 

Improve forage resources and connectivity between seasonal ranges for mule deer and a wide variety of other wildlife. Project will implement 13,530 acres of invasive weed treatments, modify 46 miles of fences and restore 150 acres of habitat. 

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.