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Utah's Watershed Restoration Initiative
Utah's Watershed Restoration Initiative
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FY24 Utah Wildlife Migration Initiative
Project Status: Current
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Need for Project
DWR needs to better understand movements and migration routes of big game and other species in Utah. The project is starting with an emphasis on big game, and has expanded to include sandhill cranes, wild turkey, waterfowl, cougars, bear, and other species.
Provide evidence about the nature of the problem and the need to address it. Identify the significance of the problem using a variety of data sources. For example, if a habitat restoration project is being proposed to benefit greater sage-grouse, describe the existing plant community characteristics that limit habitat value for greater sage-grouse and identify the changes needed for habitat improvement.
The objectives of the initiative are to radio-collar animals to determine survival rates, home ranges, habitat use, body condition, and migration routes. This information will serve as a foundation for future habitat restoration projects, working with UDOT and land management agencies to protect migration routes, and communicate with the public on the movements of wildlife in Utah. The following projects are being considered for this funding cycle: Wasatch Unit - Mule Deer The Heber Valley in the Wasatch Unit is experiencing significant growth in recent years. Little is known about mule deer using the Heber Valley and what areas are most important for winter range. This project will allow us to identify mule deer migration corridors in this area and provide us with data that can potentially help reduce impacts of development on mule deer. Pahvant and Beaver Unit - Mule Deer This proposal is for a helicopter capture project to deploy GPS collars on mule deer on the Fillmore, Pahvant and Beaver units. It is believed that there is significant emigration and immigration occurring on multiple areas of the unit, especially the southern end of the unit near I-70. Interstate 70 is a fairly permeable barrier due to multiple large crossing structures, but we currently don't have any GPS data informing us about movement across that barrier. This project will allow us to map migration corridors for mule deer on the Pahvant range, document migrations between the Pahvant and Beaver unit, and understand how mule deer use the Baker Canyon and I-70 crossings. Anthro Unit - Mule Deer, Pronghorn The West Tavaputs has sparse collar data for project planning. The proposed Uintah Basin Railway will have impacts on multiple wildlife species, if it occurs. This project will give us a working knowledge of migration corridors prior to the implementation of the railway, and will help us to evaluate impacts on wildlife populations in the area. In addition, documenting migration around Highway 40 will help us to prioritize wildlife crossing installations in the future and map migration corridors. Northeastern, Northern, Southern and Central Region - Elk This project is in the second year of assessing elk movements across multiple units and regions. Significant immigration/emigration events are occurring each year, but little is known about what units elk are coming from or going to each year. This project will help us better identify where and when elk are moving between units, and how hunting pressure is influencing elk movements. Eagle Mountain - Deer This project will look at deer movements around the city of Eagle Mountain to better understand deer use in the area. It will also help us understand how animals are responding to fencing and infrared alert system that was recently installed. Migration Initiative Program Costs This budget supports the Migration Initiative technician position, which provides critical work for Initiative, include cleaning and entering collar data in databases, automating processes, mapmaking, data analysis, and completing other important requests. It also supports data fees and other costs that occur throughout the year. Waterfowl Movements The Great Salt Lake marshes are critical to migrating waterfowl in the interior portion of the Pacific Flyway. However, little is known about the connections between Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake, Fish Springs, and other wetlands in the state. Significant investments have been made in MOTUS and other technologies that can now help us understand the connectivity that exists between these Utah's wetlands, and the importance of Utah wetlands to waterfowl in the Pacific Flyway. This project will involve catching and marking waterfowl during the summer and winter months to better understand waterfowl movements in-state and across the Pacific Flyway.
Provide an overall goal for the project and then provide clear, specific and measurable objectives (outcomes) to be accomplished by the proposed actions. If possible, tie to one or more of the public benefits UWRI is providing.
Project Location/Timing Justification (Why Here? Why Now?)
LOCATION: Justify the proposed location of this project over other areas, include publicly scrutinized planning/recovery documents that list this area as a priority, remote sensing modeling that show this area is a good candidate for restoration, wildlife migration information and other data that help justify this project's location.
TIMING: Justify why this project should be implemented at this time. For example, Is the project area at risk of crossing an ecological or other threshold wherein future restoration would become more difficult, cost prohibitive, or even impossible.
Relation to Management Plans
The mule deer management plan calls for better information on migration routes. The elk management plan calls for more information about elk movements to help meeting population objectives and reduce elk-vehicle collisions. Other management plans request better information on movements and habitat use of big game animals. Additionally, the Utah Action Plan for Secretarial Order 3362 calls for more information about movements of big game animals in five priority areas of Utah (Paunsaugunt Unit, Zion Unit, Eagle Mountain Area, I-80/84 Corridor, and US-6 corridor).
List management plans where this project will address an objective or strategy in the plan. Describe how the project area overlaps the objective or strategy in the plan and the relevance of the project to the successful implementation of those plans. It is best to provide this information in a list format with the description immediately following the plan objective or strategy.
If applicable, detail how the proposed project will significantly reduce the risk of fuel loading and/or continuity of hazardous fuels including the use of fire-wise species in re-seeding operations. Describe the value of any features being protected by reducing the risk of fire. Values may include; communities at risk, permanent infrastructure, municipal watersheds, campgrounds, critical wildlife habitat, etc. Include the size of the area where fuels are being reduced and the distance from the feature(s) at risk.
Describe how the project has the potential to improve water quality and/or increase water quantity, both over the short and long term. Address run-off, erosion, soil infiltration, and flooding, if applicable.
Description of efforts, both completed and planned, to bring the proposed action into compliance with any and all cultural resource, NEPA, ESA, etc. requirements. If compliance is not required enter "not applicable" and explain why not it is not required.
Wildlife are being captured throughout the state at different times of the year. Each animal is fitted with an unique tracking device that collects data at various intervals. The data is being stored in Wildlife Tracker for viewing and to be used for management actions.
Describe the actions, activities, tasks to be implemented as part of the proposed project; how these activities will be carried out, equipment to be used, when, and by whom.
DWR employees and partners will conduct monitoring of animals.
Describe plans to monitor for project success and achievement of stated objectives. Include details on type of monitoring (vegetation, wildlife, etc.), schedule, assignments and how the results of these monitoring efforts will be reported and/or uploaded to this project page. If needed, upload detailed plans in the "attachments" section.
We are building partnerships with everyone that has an interest in wildlife in Utah. We are meeting stakeholders to introduce them to the Initiative and ask for the support. To date we have established partnerships 20+ entities to complete wildlife movement projects.
List any and all partners (agencies, organizations, NGO's, private landowners) that support the proposal and/or have been contacted and included in the planning and design of the proposed project. Describe efforts to gather input and include these agencies, landowners, permitees, sportsman groups, researchers, etc. that may be interested/affected by the proposed project. Partners do not have to provide funding or in-kind services to a project to be listed.
Our hope is that this information improves management and shapes the way we view wildlife in Utah. We want to show how animals are using the landscape and protect critical habitat that animals use.
Detail future methods or techniques (including administrative actions) that will be implemented to help in accomplishing the stated objectives and to insure the long term success/stability of the proposed project. This may include: post-treatment grazing rest and/or management plans/changes, wildlife herd/species management plan changes, ranch plans, conservation easements or other permanent protection plans, resource management plans, forest plans, etc.
Sustainable Uses of Natural Resources
Potential for the proposed action to improve quality or quantity of sustainable uses such as grazing, timber harvest, biomass utilization, recreation, etc. Grazing improvements may include actions to improve forage availability and/or distribution of livestock.
Project Summary Report
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