Fencing Project at Pathfinder NWR Improves Wetland

Ducks Unlimited and its partner the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) completed installation of more than seven miles of wildlife-friendly, barbed wire fence to protect wetlands on Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). The refuge is in Natrona County, Wyoming and during the past decade the wetlands around Steamboat Lake were heavily grazed by trespassing cattle.

"Controlling cattle grazing will allow vegetation to reestablish and provide the needed structure and food resources for migratory waterbirds," said Tom Peterson, DU biologist in Wyoming. "Although grazing is a great management tool to control plant succession in a wetland complex, persistent grazing over many years has a detrimental effect on the habitat quality of a wetland."

The fencing project was partially funded by a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant and will help the FWS reach its habitat and recreational goals for the refuge. Pathfinder NWR provides exceptional opportunities for recreation, including hunting, fishing and bird watching. Forty species of waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds are known to use this site for migration and nesting. Pathfinder NWR is a designated Audubon Important Bird Area and part of DU’s conservation priorities in Wyoming.