This project will to improve the irrigated meadows on the Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Engineering and design will be provided to improve the condition of unused irrigation systems and pumps and to install additional head gates and dikes. Rehabilitation of about 7 miles of dike for the B-Q Canal; creating a grass bank at Cokeville Meadows NWR; planting and weed control will restore 1,300 acres of irrigated hay meadows on the Refuge that are currently unproductive; monitoring elk movement east of NWR.
This project will improve irrigation efficiency and flooding of approximately 1,300 acres of hay meadows that are currently unproductive. These improvements will increase nesting habitat for the American Bittern, White faced Ibises and a variety of other wetland and waterfowl species. Additionally, once permanent vegetation is established the potential to use this area as a grass bank will be explored. This would reduce livestock use on adjacent big game winter ranges. Highly productive permanent vegetation will also help reduce weeds that currently dominate the area.
2009 Update: This proposal includes three separate projects that provide for improved ecosystem function at the landscape level. The first project is rehabilitation of 7 miles of dike for the B-Q Canal system, which is needed to provide dependable water flows for migratory birds, wetlands, and grazing lands on Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (1.2 miles) and private lands (5.8 miles). The second project is to restore 1,300 acres of irrigated hay meadows on the Refuge that are currently unproductive. The third project is monitoring of elk movement in the West Green River elk herd (just east of Cokeville). Multiple parties are involved in various aspects of these projects, including local landowners, the WGFD, USGS, BLM, U.S. FWS, National Park Service, RMEF, and Wyoming Audubon Society. Overall, the three projects take a landscape level approach, implementing treatments that benefit various species of wildlife over a large area of southwest Wyoming. Portions of this large landscape project received ARRA funding and much of the project will be completed next year. Difficulties with the new budget system resulted in fewer accomplishments.
2010 Update: This project repaired approximately 1 mile of dike (JG) and water delivery system south of the refuge boundary to prevent water washing out areas back to the river (JP). Additionally, about 120 acres of invasive species were treated (JA), ¼ mile of irrigation ditch was cleaned (4 JG), and ½ mile of interior fencing removed to allow passage of antelope. The Dike will be monitored in the spring to watch for erosion issues that may need to be repaired.