*Header image by Jon Cartagena
Wildlife encounters many barriers and obstacles when moving across the landscape. Migration corridors for deer, elk and pronghorn are disrupted by roads and urban development, as well as recreation trails. Although we may be able to improve these obstacles for wildlife movement, they will remain significant impediments to wildlife for years to come. But there are some direct actions we can take to dramatically improve wildlife movement in areas that are more or less undeveloped.
Miles upon miles of irrelevant wire fencing inundate public lands across Colorado. Fence ecology researchers estimate that more than 1 million kilometers of fencing covers the western United States. That’s enough to circle the Earth 24 times (McInturff et al. 2020)! Much of this fencing is no longer necessary, but it continues to have detrimental and deadly impacts on big game populations as well as birds of prey, grouse and bats through entanglement, unnatural predator advantages, collisions and separation of calves and fawns from their mothers.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has set a goal to remove 40 miles of this derelict fencing in Colorado. To achieve this and deepen our commitment to stewardship and conservation, BHA recently hired our first ever habitat stewardship coordinator, Brittany Parker. Brittany was born in Rifle, Colorado, and currently resides in Gypsum, Colorado. Having grown up in Colorado, she has a strong connection to the land and a dedication to conserving its lands, waters and wildlife.
Image: Brittany Parker, our new habitat stewardship coordinator, out on a turkey hunt.
Much of Brittany’s work is focused on Northwestern Colorado to improve habitat for the Bear’s Ears and White River mule deer and elk herds, a high priority area for Colorado’s State Wildlife Action Plan. These herds make up approximately 25% of elk and 21% of deer in Colorado and are the most migratory herds in the state, migrating up to 60-70 miles in the spring and fall. With the help of dedicated volunteers and BHA partners we hope to increase habitat permeability for these herds as well as all wildlife in the area.
BHA, Colorado Parks & Wildlife and volunteers will show our appreciation for public lands and the habitat they provide by pulling fence in the Meeker area on Public Lands Day (Saturday, Sept. 24). Join us or check out our list of events to see if there is a public lands stewardship opportunity in your area.
Sign up for the BHA newsletter to get updates on all of our upcoming fence removal volunteer opportunities.