Habitat Priority Area Maps and Narratives

User Guide to Habitat Priority Areas

It is important to review the following background information before using and referring to the Wyoming Game and Fish Habitat Priority Areas.

Identifying habitat priority areas is a challenge given Wyoming's rich wildlife resources and the diverse habitat supporting those resources. This strategic habitat plan clarifies for the public and our conservation partners how priority areas were developed and what they represent. Two sets of habitat priority areas were developed by Wyoming Game & Fish Department personnel in each region: "crucial" areas and "enhancement areas." 

Strategic Habitat Plan
Wyoming Game and Fish Habitat Priority Areas

Crucial Habitat Priority Areas

Crucial Habitat Priority Areas are based on significant biological or ecological values. These are areas that need to be protected or managed to maintain viable healthy populations of terrestrial and aquatic wildlife for the present and future. They represent habitat values and identify where those values occur on the landscape. Examples of values include crucial winter range, sage grouse core area seasonal habitats, Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) diversity and uniqueness, quality and condition of vegetative communities, movement corridors, quality of watershed hydrologic function, etc. The Department will concentrate habitat protection and management activities in these areas.

Enhancement Habitat Priority Areas

Enhancement Habitat Priority Areas represent those with a realistic potential to address wildlife habitat issues and to improve, enhance, or restore wildlife habitats. These areas offer potential for improving habitat and focusing Department habitat efforts. They may overlap crucial areas or be distinct from them. Enhancement areas are based on habitat issues. Like crucial areas where values are key, issues were identified by regional personnel and used to select enhancement habitat areas. Examples of issues include loss of aspen communities, habitat fragmentation, development, loss of connectivity, water quality effects, water quantity limitations, beetle killed conifer, lack of fish passage, loss of fish to diversions, degraded habitat, etc.

"Combined" areas were created where significant overlap occurred between aquatic and terrestrial areas. Therefore, "combined" crucial and "combined enhancement" areas were created in addition to "aquatic crucial" areas, "aquatic enhancement" areas, "terrestrial crucial" areas and "terrestrial enhancement" areas.

Important Points

  • Crucial areas are also referred to as "Goal 1" areas because they address goal 1 of the SHP. Likewise, enhancement areas are also referred to as "Goal 2" areas.
  • Because of the diversity of values and issues within regions and across the state, there was no attempt to rank priority areas.
  • For each priority area, a short narrative was developed to summarize habitat values and/or issues, elaborate on why the area was selected, identify associated wildlife species, and identify solutions or actions to address the values and/or issues.
  • There was no limit to the number of areas a region could identify but they were urged to produce a meaningful prioritization by selecting the most important areas.
  • Species lists on the narratives are not a comprehensive list of all the species in the area or even all the sensitive species. Rather, these are the species that played a part in identifying the priority areas and are generally of the most concern or would benefit most from addressing habitat values and/or issues in the area. References to "NSS" (Native Species Status) or "SGCN" (Species of Greatest Conservation Need) are from the 2005 Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan (CWCS)
  • For habitat priority areas identified as aquatic or riparian corridors, a standard width of 2 kilometers is used for mapping display or acreage calculations. In reality, the true width of riparian zones obviously differs among different streams and at different locations along the same stream. Therefore, the riparian priority area and efforts to conserve or enhance that area include the functional riparian zone defined by vegetation and hydrology rather than some standard and arbitrary distance.
  • All of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission Wildlife Habitat Management Areas occur within either a priority crucial area or an enhancement area.

Now that you have reviewed the background information for the Habitat Priority Areas, please click on the link below to go to the Habitat Priority Areas. 

Wyoming Game and Fish Habitat Priority Areas
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