$4M allocated by DWR Habitat Council to preserve and manage Utah’s wildlife

SALT LAKE CITY — On Wednesday, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources announced that roughly $4 million has been allocated to selected habitat restoration projects following their annual Habitat Council funding meeting.

The DWR Habitat Council was established in 1995 by the Utah Legislature as a way to provide funds for the enhancement, preservation, management, acquisition and protection of fish and wildlife habitat, and for improving hunting and fishing access. The council consists of eight individuals who act as an advisory board and provide recommendations in regards to the use of the funds received annually each year from the sales of hunting and fishing licenses.

“We are very appreciative of the hunters and anglers who are the backbone of wildlife conservation,” DWR Habitat Conservation Coordinator Daniel Eddington said. “Anyone who buys a hunting and fishing license helps fund many of the crucial habitat restoration projects that help to maintain fish and wildlife populations for future generations to enjoy.”

Approximately $4 million was made available to the Habitat Council and will help fund 91 projects over the next fiscal year. This will fund several high-priority fish and wildlife projects, including:

  • The Blacksmith Fork River Fish Passage and Habitat Restoration project: This project will include the rebuilding of two irrigation diversions to help remove barriers for fish and to reconnect fish passage on 25 miles of the Blacksmith Fork River and tributaries to the Logan River.
  • Navajo Lake Spillway Reconstruction and Embankment Maintenance project: This project will rebuild and improve the spillway at Navajo Lake and complete maintenance work along the embankment after the dam failed twice in recent years.
  • Monroe Mountain Aspen Ecosystems Restoration project: This project will help to improve aspen ecosystems on Monroe Mountain by thinning conifer trees and seeding more aspen trees.
  • Cinnamon Creek Wildlife Management Area Improvement project: This project will involve several improvements to the recently purchased Cinnamon Creek WMA, including installing signs, improving roads and parking areas, installing fencing and gates and helping to restore springs on the property.

Several additional projects also received funds, including the maintenance of wildlife and waterfowl management areas, habitat treatments on summer and winter ranges for big game, and improvements and restoration to streams and lakes across Utah.

“We are extremely grateful for other partners who help fund these projects as well, which are so critical for fish and wildlife,” Eddington said. “We wouldn’t be able to complete as many of these conservation projects without these important partnerships.”

Between 2006 to 2021, the Habitat Council program has:

  • Allocated $37.6 million to complete 1,323 wildlife habitat projects across Utah.
  • Improved over 282,558 acres of terrestrial habitat.
  • Restored 1,833 miles of streams and rivers.
  • Acquired 28,358 acres of land and waterways now managed by the state or placed under permanent conservation easements.

The recent Habitat Council funds are in addition to the $4.2 million in conservation permit funds that were allocated to wildlife research and additional habitat projects in April. However, both funding programs use Utah’s Watershed Restoration Initiative, a Utah Department of Natural Resources partnership-based program that serves as a centralized portal for funding and tracking the completion of these habitat-related projects.

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