DU protects habitat and use in Goshen County

Ducks Unlimited will transfer a 160-acre tract in Goshen County to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) as part of its Revolving Habitat Program. The property will become part of the Springer/Bump Sullivan Wildlife Habitat Management Area (WHMA), renowned for its waterfowl and upland game hunting. Along with increased public recreation access, acquisition of the Goshen County property secures one-third of the water rights associated with Bump Sullivan Reservoir making wildlife habitat and recreation the highest priority for water use from this reservoir. 

"In Wyoming, securing water rights is a big challenge to bringing water to wetlands that are essential for waterfowl and other wildlife," said DU Biologist Thomas Peterson. "By acquiring the Goshen County property and the accompanying water rights, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department can provide waterfowl and other waterbirds essential wetland habitat even during the driest times."

The Goshen County property acquisition is part of a larger project that was funded by a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant with DU and partners providing a 2 to 1 match to the grant dollars. The NAWCA proposal titled North Platte River Wetlands II, crosses the state borders of Nebraska and Wyoming to protect and restore emergent marsh, riverine wetlands, riparian habitat and associated native grasslands and cropland along the North Platte River. 

The majority of habitat along the North Platte River in Nebraska and Wyoming is privately owned. Increased demand on water resources, habitat fragmentation and development continue to compromise the wildlife habitat’s value. The goal of conservation partners in this region is to protect the remaining high-priority tracts through fee-title acquisition or securing conservation easements.

"Protecting this property and transferring it to WGFD for management will support the goals of the NAWCA grant and the broader plan to ensure the North Platte River remains productive for the migratory birds that rely on these habitats each year," Peterson said.