Regional Offices > Sheridan Region > Sheridan Region News > Kleenburn Ponds named Important Bird Area

Kleenburn Ponds named Important Bird Area

August 01, 2018
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Sheridan - Twenty-one wildlife enthusiasts gathered at Kleenburn Ponds on Sunday, July 22, to celebrate the area’s recent designation as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society. IBAs are areas that are considered critical for birds, based on data of the diversity and abundance of species and importance of habitat. There is no legal status conferred by IBAs, just recognition of the importance of the area to bird populations. The effort to get the site designated as an IBA was led by the Bighorn Chapter of the Audubon Society, Audubon Rockies and Sheridan County.

The Kleenburn Ponds area is a former surface coal mine site that was conveyed to Sheridan County by Padlock Ranch in the 1970s and was used by the public for target shooting, camping, fishing and off-road vehicle activities.

In 2009, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality Abandoned Mine Land Division, with contributions from local contractors, began a series of projects to improve the area’s safety, wildlife and fisheries habitat and public recreation opportunities. Projects included re-grading areas for stability, seeding new vegetation, fencing, construction of pathways and a walking bridge and the incorporation of a channel between the two ponds to promote fish passage and reduce winterkill. More recently, WGFD, in cooperation with RENEW and Sheridan County, installed a handicapped-accessible fishing pier. Overall, more than 73,000 cubic yards of coal waste and 17 acres of dangerous piles, embankments and wetlands were reclaimed.

The resulting improvements have provided enhanced fishing opportunities, quality habitat for birds, amphibians and other wildlife and a safe, beautiful location for public recreation and enjoyment. The area is jointly managed by Wyoming Game and Fish and Sheridan County.

- WGFD -

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