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Cody Field Office
Release Date: 05/17/11
Contacts: Sarah Beckwith    

Partnership Improves Fence to Benefit Wildlife

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Cody Field Office recently partnered with Friends of a Legacy (FOAL) and Meadowlark Audubon Society on a fence modification project to benefit sage-grouse, pronghorn and wild horses in the Bridger Butte area inside the McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Herd Management Area east of Cody, Wyo.

During the Saturday workday, volunteers removed approximately six miles of wire on a 6-wire and sometimes 8-wire fence, leaving a 3-wire fence, and tightened-up loose wires to make two miles of fence friendlier to local wildlife.

BLM Wildlife Biologist Destin Harrell, who organized the workday, explained to the group that fences should be no higher than 42” to protect sage-grouse in flight, and no lower than 16” off the ground to allow pronghorn to pass easily under them.

FOAL President Marshall Dominick thought that the McCullough Peaks wild horses would also benefit from the improved fence. “Horses try to cross fences where wires are down and foals can get tangled-up,” Dominick said. “Three tight wires will discourage horses from trying to cross, and securing loose ends and staples further reduces hazards to the horses.”

Fence modification projects will be ongoing as the Cody Field Office attempts to improve BLM fences throughout the field office area to meet wildlife specifications.

“There are miles and miles of five and six-wire fences in the area,” Harrell said. “Sage-grouse collide with fences and pronghorn need space to crawl under fences.  This fence is within one of the longest pronghorn migration routes in Wyoming and within a hundred yards of a sage-grouse lek. Volunteer groups like FOAL and Meadowlark Audubon Society are helping us realize our goal of making BLM fences more wildlife-friendly.”

Meadowlark Audubon Society members enjoyed a little bird watching as they worked to protect sage-grouse and other wildlife. The songs of Sage Thrashers, Horned Larks and Vesper Sparrows were the perfect accompaniment to the day.

In addition to the volunteers improving the fence that day, Bow Hunters of Wyoming donated funds to help make the project a success.

For more information, please contact Harrell at 307-578-5900.

Note to media: click on thumbnails for high-resolution images suitable for print.

Volunteers cut wire.
John Ross, John Osgood 
and Rose Hughes from 
Audubon cut wires to 
make the fence wildlife-friendly.
Volunteers improving fence for wildlife.
Neil Miller from Audubon 
and Randy Leisey, executive 
director of FOAL, make 
improvements to the fence 
that will benefit wildlife.
Volunteers roll up wire.
Susan Richards and 
Rex Myers from Audubon 
spool wire removed from 
the fence.
Volunteers spool wire.
Volunteers from Meadowlark 
Audubon Society and FOAL 
spool the cut wire which was 
taken to be recycled.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Cody Field Office   1002 Blackburn Street      Cody, WY 82414  

Last updated: 05-17-2011