Improving Habitat Quality in Western Big Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors
On February 9, 2018, at an event in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Secretary of the Interior signed Secretarial Order 3362, “Improving Habitat Quality in Western Big Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors”. The Order has attracted considerable attention and created momentum for management and conservation of migration corridors and winter range. As of May 2020, the Department of the Interior (Department) has entered Year 3 of implementation and our approach over the past two years has established the solid foundation necessary for successful future endeavors.
“Enhance and improve the quality of Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope winter range and migration corridor habitat.”
The Order is focused on species under the management authority of state fish and wildlife agencies, so it directs the appropriate bureaus within the Department to engage western states collaboratively and cooperatively. More directly, the Order recognizes state authority to manage big game species. The Department’s role in implementation stems from its management responsibility for millions of acres of land across the West, strong scientific and technical capabilities, and ability to bring forward other resources to help facilitate wildlife habitat conservation activities across multiple states. The Order is focused on conserving, enhancing, restoring, or improving the condition of priority big game winter range and migration corridor habitat. Ultimately, the habitat conservation activities resulting from the implementation of the Order will provide positive benefits to big game populations and numerous other wildlife species.
Casey Stemler, Coordinator for Secretarial Order 3362
Implementation Progress Report, August 2020
Partnerships have made meaningful progress on the implementation of the Order in the first 2 years. Exceptional cooperation and collaboration with the states continues as we enter Year 3 of implementation. Read about the accomplishments in the 2020 Progress Report (PDF, 6 MB).
- Funding Surpassed $30 million. The Department of the Interior and partners provided funding to support state-identified priority research projects, data analysis and mapping assistance, and for habitat-related projects.
- SO 3362 Coordinator Hired by the US Fish & Wildlife Service in May 2018.
- State-specific Action Plans were developed for each of the 11 western states by October 2019.
- Bureau Liasions Established by the BLM, FWS, and NPS.
State-specific Action Plans
Action Plans provide focus, facilitate partnership development, inform grantmaking programs, and ultimately serve as a tool to accomplish habitat conservation.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) works in close cooperation with the states, in particular the WAFWA and its program manager for the Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT®) in developing maps or mapping tools related to elk, deer, or pronghorn movement or land use. A primary action taken my USGS in response to SO3362 was to assemble a Corridor Mapping Team to work with individual State wildlife agencies and partners to facilitate mapping of migration corridors. The Team has been in place since the beginning of 2019 and is based out of the Wyoming Cooperative Research Unit, but includes key biologists in participating State agencies.
Wildife Corridors and Route Viewer westernmigrations.net
Public access to data on migrating ungulates through a unique partnership between participating western states. This tool enables viewing of mapped migration corridors, routes, stopovers and ranges.
Migration Mapper™ migrationinitiative.org
The USGS Migration Mapper™ is a free application designed for researchers, biologists, and managers, to analyze fine-scale GPS collar data collected from migratory ungulates.
Department of the Interior. Secretarial Order 3362 – “Improving Habitat Quality in Western Big Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors”.
WGA Policy Resolution 2021-04
Western Governors Association (WGA). Policy Resolution 2021-04 – “Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Act”. westgov.org
WGA Policy Resolution 2019-08
Western Governors Association (WGA). Policy Resolution 2019-08 – “Wildlife Migration Corridors and Habitat”. westgov.org
Colorado Habitat Connectivity Joint Resolution (SJR21-021)
• Wildlife-Vehicle Collision Reduction Study, A Report to Congress (PDF, 3 MB)
• Cost-effective approach to reducing collisions with elk by fencing between existing highway structures. Human–Wildlife Interactions 9(2):248–264, Fall 2015 (PDF, 937 KB)
• Development of Sustainable Strategies Supporting Transportation Planning and Conservation Priorities across the West. Federal Highway Administration. 2015. (PDF, 4 MB)
• 2020 Terrestrial Wildlife Movement and Migration Strategy (PDF, 262 KB)
• Montana Wildlife and Transportation Summit Report 2018 (PDF, 1 MB)
• Wildlife In Wyoming, Migration
- U.S. Department of Agriculture CRP priority for elk migration corridors, promoting sign up in WY/MT/ID “elk migration” priority. www.fsa.usda.gov
- BLM Information Bulletin 2019–005 “Secretarial Order 3362: Site-specific Management Activities to Conserve or Restore Big Game Habitat.” November 2018. www.blm.gov
- BLM Instruction Memorandum (IM 2018-062) “Addressing Hunting, Fishing, Shooting Sports, and Big Game Habitats, and Incorporating Fish and Wildlife Conservation Plans and Information from Tribes, State Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and Other Federal Agencies in Bureau of Land Management”.
Habitat Conservation/ Management Funding Opportunities
NFWF Grant Program Improving Habitat Quality in Western Big Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors.
The The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Improving Habitat Quality in Western Big Game and Migration Corridors Program aims to conserve critical winter range and migration corridors to maintain healthy populations of pronghorn, elk and mule deer, and the phenomenon of big game migration. The program is working with conservation partners across Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. www.nfwf.org
FWS Private Lands Conservation Funds
FWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) program established an internal grant program of $1.5 million per year for voluntary projects on private lands located within state-defined priority migration corridors or winter range areas. Proposals are developed by PFW field staff working in partnership with landowners, staff from the respective state wildlife agency, and others. www.fws.gov/partners/
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
CRP priority for elk migration corridors, promoting sign up in WY/MT/ID “elk migration” priority. www.fsa.usda.gov
WDFW to use helicopters to capture mule deer In the news, Jan 4, 2021.
Pronghorn migration study begins across Idaho In the news, August 31, 2020.
Liaisons are integral to the implementation of the Order, they serve as the point of contact with government and nongovernment partners at the local level within their assigned states. They conduct outreach to the public and work with the respective states to develop and update the Action Plans.
For Additional information, please contact Casey Stemler, Coordinator for Secretarial Order 3362 at casey firstname.lastname@example.org.