Volunteers Dig in for Habitat Improvements

Partnership Project to improve wildlife habitat, water quality, range condition

CODY, WY | May 08, 2012

On Thursday, May 31, an estimated 100 volunteers will roll up their sleeves to benefit nature and wildlife. The Partnership Project Volunteer Day on upper Grass Creek on the LU Ranch, south of Meeteetse, WY, is part of The Nature Conservancy’s multi-year, multi-partner cooperative project aimed at improving wildlife habitat, water quality and range condition in the Grass and Cottonwood Creek drainages between Meeteetse and Thermopolis. 

From 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. volunteers will remove up to two miles of fence line that impedes both resident and migratory wildlife. This activity will also benefit the ranching operation, since decrepit fences also cause problems for cattle, such as separation from the herd and injuries. 

“We’re excited to partner with The Nature Conservancy on this project,” says Mike Healy, of the LU Ranch. “They’re coming up with solutions that protect both the land and our ranching tradition.” 

The Nature Conservancy sees this partnership project as a win-win for people and nature. “By improving land and water conditions, the cattle are safer and healthier, which strengthens the ranching businesses,” says Katherine Thompson, the Conservancy’s Northwest Wyoming Program director. “The same work also conserves our lands and waters and ensures wildlife have wild and open spaces to roam.” 

Launched in 2009, the Conservancy’s five-year project is designed to create comprehensive range and water quality monitoring programs across 200,000 acres and 164 miles of perennial streams. Stewardship activities include the development of well-distributed livestock water. Also, new off-creek water sources allow ranchers to avoid watering their animals directly from the area’s streams which improves water quality. Last summer, volunteers built fences around vulnerable springs and aspen stands to protect them from trampling by livestock. 

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust Fund are providing financial support for the project. Other partners include: LU Ranch, Spring Gulch Cattle Company, Hot Springs Weed & Pest, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Game & Fish Department, the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Cottonwood / Grass Creek Coordinated Resource Management Group, Wyoming Conservation Corps, David M. Leuschen Foundation, and Marathon Oil. 

Volunteers will meet on May 31 at 9:00 a.m. at the Gooseberry Creek Rest Area 36 miles northwest of Thermopolis on Highway 120. Study clothes, work gloves, sunscreen and hat are recommended. Lunch will be provided. Please contact Katherine Thompson by May 29 to register; (307) 587-1655 or 

For more information on The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming, visit

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

Contact information

Tracey Stone
The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming

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