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. Additional information about habitat priority areas and their development is provided in the Statewide Habitat Plan, particularly in Appendix 2.

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. Three sets of habitat priority areas were developed by Wyoming Game & Fish Department personnel: "crucial" areas, "restoration" areas and "connectivity" areas. 

Statewide Habitat Plan

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, quality of watershed hydrologic function, etc. The Department will concentrate habitat protection and management activities in these areas.

Restoration Habitat Priority Areas

Restoration 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. Restoration areas are based on habitat issues. Like crucial areas where values are key, issues were identified by regional personnel and used to select restoration habitat areas. Examples of issues include loss of aspen communities, habitat fragmentation, development, water quality effects, water quantity limitations, beetle killed conifer, loss of fish to diversions, degraded habitat, etc.

Connectivity Habitat Priority Areas

Connectivity Habitat Priority Areas were developed to reflect the high importance that issues related to connectivity among fish and wildlife populations have gained in recent years. These areas are meant to promote protecting connectivity where it currently occurs and focus attention on enhancing fish passage and wildlife migrations to improve connectivity.  Officially designated wildlife migration corridors as well as informally identified migration routes are included under this goal. Likewise, fish passage areas are included. A sampling of issues addressed under this goal include road crossings that impede fish or wildlife, diversion dams that block fish, the location and accessibility of ungulate stopover areas, diversions that entrain high numbers of fish, and fences that block or impede migrations.

Important points

  • Crucial areas are also referred to as "Goal 1" areas because they address goal 1 of the SHP. Likewise, restoration areas are referred to as "Goal 2" areas, and connectivity areas are referred to as "Goal 3" 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.
  • For habitat priority areas identified as riparian corridors, a standard width of 1 mile 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.

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
Email Newsletter

Email Newsletter Sign Up

Stay up to date on all Wyoming Game and Fish news either by email or text message. Click the link below to get started.

Sign Up Today


Conserving Wildlife - Serving People