Sublette County – Conservation in action

Courtesy photo Pronghorn gather to drink at pools created by an established rock structure.

Sublette County is certainly unique in all it offers people and wildlife. A plentitude of nature and wildlife abound. Rangelands and agricultural lands alike provide vital habitat for birds and wildlife. Working landscapes require fences and irrigation to support management and the culture of the area. For successful conservation to occur across the landscape, engaging landowners through voluntary actions is necessary.

As Rosa Parks said, “We will fail when we fail to try.”

This great community tries to provide conservation through collaboration, and I think we have had some success. Here’s a look at what’s happening with fence modifications and wet meadow restoration efforts. 

Sublette County Conservation District (SCCD) and partners have been going through an exercise to determine how many fence miles in the county have been converted or are managed to be friendlier for the wildlife species that must navigate them.

We have gleaned that there are over 3,000 miles of fence in Sublette County. That’s a lot of fences! Of those, we estimate 690 miles have been addressed for wildlife passage to date. That’s a pretty good feat, yet we need to decide the best path forward to accomplish fence-conversion projects in the most appropriate locations. Thus, the partnership and the projects selected are continuing to evolve.

We also continue to plan implementation of more Zeedyk and Beaver Dam Analog projects, in other words, rock and wood structures. Initial observations and monitoring of structures built during the August 2021 workshop are already illustrating the benefits with captured sediment and vegetation growth.

While private lands account for only 30 percent of land in the Intermountain West, the irrigated lands they support comprise over 60 percent of wetland and riparian habitat. These lands sustain floodplain function and recharge aquifers. Trail-camera monitoring on structures is being analyzed and we plan to have some time-lapse videos available by March.

And in case you haven’t viewed them already, you can still watch the short videos previously made: 1) Why Wet Meadow Restoration is Important, 2) What is a Headcut and How Does One Form?, 3) Zuni Bowl Structures; 4) Rock Rundown Structures and 5) One Rock Dam Structures, at

As always, if you have any questions regarding these projects or others that the Sublette County Conservation District is working on, feel free to stop by the office at 217 Country Club Lane in Pinedale or call us at 307-367-2364.