Wildlife Projects

Free-roaming wildlife are part of our heritage in and around the Upper Yellowstone Watershed. Roughly two thirds of the land is public. The remaining third is private property, with wide open spaces created by ranching and farming operations and very little subdivision. Wildlife and humans and livestock co-exist across this spectrum of public and private lands. However, 4+ million people converge on Yellowstone Park in the summer months, which can have a large impact on state and county roads that were not built for that traffic. And, of course, the wildlife must contend with that network of roads. We are striving to manage the wildness of our public and private lands while balancing the economics of tourism and recreation that use those resources - i.e. managing the quality of life in our community in such a way that the economic, social and environmental systems that make up our community are providing a healthy, productive, meaningful life for all residents, present and future. We call this the triple bottom line: people, profit, and planet.


Our projects involve various wildlife monitoring efforts between the private citizens of the Upper Yellowstone Watershed Group, Montana Department of Transportation, Fish Wildlife & Parks, Park County, National Parks Conservation Association, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and Center for Large Landscape Conservation. We aim to monitor and manage sustainable migration corridors in the Paradise Valley area north of Yellowstone Park, where livestock, people and wildlife coexist in healthy ecosytems.  To learn more click on any of our project links below.

Mountain goats are in the middle of the
Herd of farm elk in scenic Saskatchewan.

Agricultural producers and easement owners create habitat and forage for wildlife at their own cost. We are looking at financial incentives to help maintain that habitat and the migration corridors they produce for the tourism economy and our rural way of life.

We are in the "conversational" stage of planning and encourage private land-owner collaboration. The framework for this conversation is as follows:

Wildlife Habitat and Movement in the Paradise Valley

a. Key considerations and terminology

b. Wildlife data and information

c. Secretarial Order 3362 Montana Action Plan


Wildlife-Vehicle Conflicts in the Paradise Valley

a. Key considerations and terminology

b. Carcass and collision data

c. Paradise Valley Corridor Planning Study 
 
Land Use Planning in the Paradise Valley

a. Key considerations and terminology

b. Park County Growth Policy

 

Stakeholder background and perspectives  
 
Common Areas of Interest  

a. Discuss characteristics and criteria for identifying common areas of opportunity for wildlife accommodations

b. Identify general areas of potential opportunity for wildlife accommodations

c. Refine criteria if necessary 
 

wildlife accidents.png

Over a 5-year period from 2007 to 2012,  a total of 286 collisions were reported along Paradise Valley, of which almost 50% (142) involved wildlife. These are "reported" cases, and the actual total is much higher. MDT does not include wildlife carcasses found along the highway that are not accompanied by a reported crash in its count of wildlife-vehicle collisions. Nonetheless, during the same 5-year period, over 700 large mammal carcasses were reported by MDT maintenance on this stretch of US 89. Through the 11-year period from 2002 to 2012, more than 1,600 large mammals were killed along this stretch of highway, including over 1,500 deer, 94 elk, and 6 bighorn sheep, along with 1 antelope, 1 bison, 1 black bear, and 1 moose.