SWEETWATER COUNTY– This coming winter, Wyoming big game animals will have a more open migration path across WY Highway 28 and highway motorists will have safer travels due to recent collaborative efforts lead by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Wyoming Department of Transportation.
Last Thursday, September 12, 2019, volunteers assisted in modifying long stretches of right of way fence in a manner that will foster safer migration highway crossings for wildlife.
For years the WY Highway 28 right of way fences have blocked the winter and spring migrations of Wyoming big game animals. These fences may have trapped migrating game against right of way fences preventing further southern migration in the winter and northern migration in the spring or early summer. Once trapped against highway fences many animals perish due to starvation or as a result of becoming caught in fences.
To make crossing WY Highway 28 safer for both wildlife and the traveling public, WYDOT and the WGFD have embarked on a two year project to make the right of way fences more permeable to wildlife migrations thus reducing the time that wildlife spend either trapped outside the fences or inside the fences facing oncoming traffic. Project fence modifications have included altering the bottom fence wires so that antelope can more easily slip through fences and installing double wide opposing fence gates that allow wildlife a clear path to cross the highway.
Others that have provided funding and/or assistance for this project include the Bureau of Land Management, Muley Fanatic Foundation, Wyoming Wildlife Federation, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Knobloch Foundation and Sweetwater County.
Wally J. Johnson, Chairman, Sweetwater County Board of County Commissioners stated that Sweetwater County is very pleased with the leadership of the WGFD and WYDOT and contributions from conservation organization to this wildlife fence modification project.
Chairman Johnson further stated that for many years he and many residents have been sadden to see big game, especially antelope, during the winter, trapped along the north right of way fence of WY Highway 28.
He sees the actions being taken by WGFD, WYDOT and others as an important step in preventing unnecessary wildlife loss and in preserving our wildlife heritage for future generations.