Ackland Spring in Capitol Reef
National Wildlife Federation is pleased to announce the completion of the Hartnet Grazing Retirement in Capitol Reef National Park! Thanks to our generous donors and supporters we've reached our fundraising goal of $365,000 to complete the agreement. As previously reported this spring, NWF has been working for over two years to end livestock grazing in the Hartnet allotment and protect valuable wildlife habitat. Most importantly, we were able to work cooperatively with the area ranchers and compensate them for their grazing rights in the Park. Livestock grazing has a long history in southern UT and pre-dates the formation of many of the current National Parks, National Monuments and protected areas.
While livestock grazing can be compatible in many areas of the West, the fragile desert ecosystem within Capitol Reef National Park is not one of those places. Mule deer, pronghorn antelope, elk and other wildlife depend on the scant forage and water resources, and predators like mountain lions depend on healthy prey populations to survive. Reducing the impacts of livestock grazing will restore this ecosystem and place less pressure on struggling wildlife populations.
NWF is doubling down on our efforts to reduce conflict between livestock and wildlife on public lands in 2018. We are significantly expanding our focal areas beyond the Yellowstone Ecosystem and working in the Montana's northern great plains on the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, the Rio Grande region of southern Colorado, the High Divide region on the ID/ MT border and the Great Basin region in north-central Nevada. Much of our efforts over the coming year will focus on reducing conflict between domestic and bighorn sheep on public lands. Disease spread by domestic sheep to wild sheep populations has crippled populations over the past 50 years resulting in over an 80% decline in their range. By utilizing a free-market approach to this challenging issue, we are developing new and exciting partnerships with state wildlife agencies, conservation non-profits, sportsmen organizations and wildlife enthusiasts.
Another component of our work will be working to expand grizzly bear populations outside of the Yellowstone Ecosystem. Since the species' delisting from the Endangered Species Act last year, there has been much concern over how the population will be managed in the coming years. NWF believes that in order for grizzlies to be able to continue to thrive and expand their populations, we must be diligent in continuing to address conflicts on public lands between grizzlies and livestock. Much of our efforts will be focused on the High Divide region west of Yellowstone where we believe there is the greatest likelihood for grizzlies to expand into the wilderness areas of central Idaho. There is much yet to do in 2018!
Fence removal on Capitol Reef will benefit wildife
This year NWF has much work to do in Yellowstone
NWF is continuing work to protect western bighorns