July 2021 - 41

primary point of contact for property management
by nongovernmental organizations, local public
agencies, states entities and federal agencies. The
lands branch works with representatives from these
groups on a daily basis as an essential function of
maintaining the numerous agreements, leases and
other necessary lands management tools.
The legal ramifications if the functions of
the lands branch were not carried out would be
numerous. Public access to multiple areas across the
state would lapse over time and would potentially
be lost forever. The lands branch helps to monitor
the Commission's property rights for encroachments
and other potential violations that would have a
negative impact on the property.
Habitat and access
The habitat and access branch is responsible for the
management of all Commission-owned properties.
The mission and vision of this branch is to enhance
and conserve wildlife habitat and serve the public
while managing Commission-owned lands to be the
benchmarks for wildlife habitat and public access.
The branch is composed of 22 full-time employees
strategically located throughout the state. One is
the branch chief, 16 are directly responsible for the
management of properties and five are part of a
statewide crew specializing in habitat development
across the state on Commission, private and federal
properties.
The branch is entrusted to manage 44 wildlife
habitat management areas, more than 200 public
access areas and supports the management of 22
elk feedgrounds. Habitat and access manages
approximately 500,000 acres of deeded, leased and/
or cooperative agreement land. The WHMAs and
PAAs include access to nearly 370 miles of streams,
2,000 acres of wetlands and more than 47,000 lake
surface acres. There also are 1,100 miles of roads,
395 parking areas, 67 boat ramps, 30 docks, 150
comfort stations and more than 6,000 signs that
provide access values to increase public awareness
on sustainable ecosystems.
Management practices include 95 dams, 140 miles
of irrigation ditches/drains, 5,200 acres of irrigated
meadows, 2,400 acres of farmland, 250 acres of food
plots, and more than 1,000 miles of fence that play
a crucial role for the species on the managed lands.
The statewide crew implements large-scale habitat
enhancements intended to maintain or improve the
productivity for terrestrial and aquatic species. Some
of the efforts on habitat enhancements includes
stream restoration, sagebrush thinning, aerating,
food-plot farming, haying irrigated fields and fence
conversions.
Services Division Chief Eric Wiltanger feeds elk in the Pinedale region. (WGFD photo)
" Whether it's engineering a new regional office,
farming land for habitat and access, obtaining public
access opportunities, maintaining our Commissionowned
facilities, ensuring our fish populations remain
healthy, providing wildlife forensics or keeping the
Game and Fish on the leading edge when it comes to
IT, the services division staff retain the highest levels
of passion and commitment to the resource everyday
they wake up. " - Eric Wiltanger
Statewide habitat and access crews build a wildlife-friendly fence at a wildlife habitat management area.
(WGFD photo)
Wyoming Wildlife | 41

July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of July 2021

July 2021 - 1
July 2021 - 2
July 2021 - 3
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July 2021 - 5
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https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/september-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/may-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/march-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/february-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/January2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/December2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/September2020
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com