Wyoming groups awarded EPA Wetlands grants

DENVER, Colo. – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has been awarded $112,500 through an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wetlands grant, to develop a voluntary program for protecting, managing and restoring wetlands in the state of Wyoming. 

“We are excited to receive this funding,” said Department Staff Biologist Steve Tessmann. “The grant is supporting a much-needed jump-start of a voluntary wetland restoration and protection program in Wyoming.  The effort will also include preparation of plans to manage and improve wetlands located on several State wildlife
habitat areas.”  

The grant will be carried out collaboratively with Ducks Unlimited, the Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition and Wyoming Wetlands Society.

“Wetland restoration is key to capturing pollutants that impact Wyoming’s natural resources,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Understanding the current health of wetlands and where restoration efforts are most needed will help the many groups working on making the state’s rivers, lakes and streams healthy.”

Wetlands Program Development Grants assist state, tribal, local government agencies and interstate/intertribal entities in building programs that protect, manage, and restore wetlands and aquatic resources. These agencies and organizations are encouraged to develop wetlands program plans, which help create a roadmap for building capacity and achieving long-term environmental goals. These wetlands program plans help determine which projects a program will seek funding for and help ensure that EPA is providing strategic support for states and tribes as they pursue their environmental goals.

The University of Wyoming is also receiving a $112,500 wetlands grant. In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, the University of Wyoming will carry out a multi-year project to improve the effectiveness of monitoring and assessment methods related to aquatic resources.

These improvements will be achieved by developing, testing, and calibrating Wyoming-specific protocols to assess wetland condition and value. The project will support state priorities for wetland monitoring, protection and conservation, focusing on the effects of climate change in highly managed basins. 

“Many people don’t realize that even though the area of marshes, ponds, and streamside forests in Wyoming is small, those wetlands have a large impact on biodiversity and other ecological services,” said Teresa Tibbets, Freshwater Ecologist with the University of Wyoming. “Wetlands also often overlap with areas important for agricultural production. Our goal is to develop assessment methods that can inform how we can better manage our water resources to balance the needs of wetland habitats and people.” 

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