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Pinedale Online > News > February 2012 > Conservation Agreement creates new public fishing access along the Green River

Fish Creek Flying W Ranch. Photo by Mark Gocke, Wyoming Game & Fish.
Fish Creek Flying W Ranch
Cattle graze in meadows along South Piney Creek on the Fish Creek Flying W Ranch west of Big Piney in 2011. Photo by Mark Gocke, Wyoming Game & Fish.

South Piney drainage. Photo by Mark Gocke, Wyoming Game & Fish.
South Piney drainage
South Piney drainage as it flows out of the Wyoming Range on the Fish Creek Flying W Ranch west of Big Piney. Photo by Mark Gocke, Wyoming Game & Fish.

Green River bottomlands. Photo by Mark Gocke, Wyoming Game & Fish.
Green River bottomlands
The Green River bottomlands of the Johnson place near Big Piney where new public fishing access will be available. Photo by Mark Gocke, Wyoming Game & Fish.
Conservation Agreement creates new public fishing access along the Green River
Fish Creek Flying W Ranches
by Wyoming Game and Fish
February 9, 2012

Today (Thursday, February 9, 2012) the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and The Conservation Fund celebrated the completion of a land conservation agreement that will secure key wildlife habitat of the Fish Creek Flying W Ranches near Big Piney, WY. Two conservation easements will permanently preserve vital big game winter ranges on two historic ranches and provide public walk-in access on the Green River for fishing, nature viewing, and educational activities.

Owned and managed by Pam Chrisman, the 1,530-acre Fish Creek Flying W Ranches consist of two properties. The Johnson Place, located approximately four miles south of Big Piney and Marbleton, features nearly two miles of Green River frontage and provides valuable riparian habitat for moose, mule deer, bald eagles, and a plethora of other wildlife. The Fish Creek Ranch on South Piney Fish Creek Road is approximately 18 miles west of Big Piney, and encompasses more than two miles of land along the Fish and South Piney Creeks. Fish Creek Ranch serves as crucial winter range for one of the largest concentrations of Shiras moose along the Wyoming Range, as well as an important movement corridor for both elk and mule deer. The property also provides important brood rearing habitat for sage-grouse.

"The Johnson Place has been in my family for more than 100 years, and Iím thrilled to be able to continue my familyís ranching legacy because of the conservation easements," said landowner Pam Chrisman.

The Conservation Fund acquired easements on both properties with funding from the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), a federal program managed by the U.S. Department of Agricultureís Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that provides matching funds for the purchase of agricultural easements on land. The matching funds were provided by the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, Access Yes, and the Wyoming Governors Big Game License Coalition. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will maintain the long-term stewardship of the conservation easements and fishing access agreement.

"This project represents a great partnership in protecting key habitat for Wyoming's fish and wildlife resources in the Green River Valley," said Director Scott Talbott of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. "We are especially excited for the new public fishing access this easement will provide, creating approximately two miles of uninterrupted access along the renowned Green River."

"We sincerely appreciate the contributions of Pam Chrisman of the Fish Creek Flying W Ranches, as well as The Conservation Fund and the many other partners for their efforts in making this showcase project happen," added Talbott.

Luke Lynch, state director for The Conservation Fund stated: "Recent research has shown that funds invested in conservation easements in Wyoming often yield four times the amount spent in economic value. Projects like Fish Creek Flying W Ranches bolster rural economies, safeguard iconic wildlife resources, and enhance outdoor recreation access for sportsmen and women."

The protection of these ranches will not only connect the habitat of nearby public lands, it will also provide water quality benefits for notable sport fisheries on the Green River and native Colorado River cutthroat trout in South Piney Creek and Fish Creek. These vital waterways provide spawning habitat for native and non-native sport fish and various other native nongame fish species.

"Conservation easements like this keep Wyoming farmers and ranchers working on their properties, maintaining the economic viability of these lands, while securing critical habitat for iconic and important western species like greater sage-grouse," said Paul Shelton, Acting State Conservationist for Wyoming with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. "NRCS continues to be humbled and honored to be able to work with conservation partners such as The Conservation Fund and producers such as Pam Chrisman."


Pinedale Online > News > February 2012 > Conservation Agreement creates new public fishing access along the Green River

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