Range and Wildlife

Rangeland

 

The general rangeland plant cover is composed of native grasses, forbs, and shrubs that are valuable as forage for livestock and wildlife.  The grass species commonly found on rangeland include western wheat grass, green needlegrass, needleandthread, blue grama, little bluestem, sideoats grama, threadleaf sedge, prairie junegrass, inland saltgrass, and alkali sacaton.  Big sagebrush, silver sage, and greasewood are the predominate shrub species.

 

About 75 percent of the District is rangeland.  More than 80 percent of the farm income is derived from livestock, principally cattle.  Most ranches are cow-calf-yearling enterprises.  The production of livestock is necessary to the livelihood of the ranching/farming businesses and related industries in Weston County. 

 

In the areas that have similar climate and topography, differences in the kind and amount of vegetation produced on rangeland are closely related to the kind of soil.  Effective management is based on the relationship between the soils and vegetation and water. 

 

Water quantity and distribution, improving native vegetation, improving riparian areas, livestock management, soil erosion, and sustaining wildlife habitat are all major concerns for rangeland health.

 

2016 Integrated Weed Control Catalog

Here is a link to the 2016 integrated weed control catalog. This catalog provides information on using insects for noxious weed control.

Last Modified on July 13, 2017

Wildlife

Wildlife is an important component of the natural resources in the county. A variety of game and non-game animals are found in the District. Major game animals are whitetail deer, mule deer, antelope (pronghorn) and elk.  There is also a small band of bighorn sheep that resides on the Wyoming-South Dakota border east of Newcastle. 

Common predators are the fox, coyote, bobcat, and mountain lion. Upland game occurring in the District are rabbits, sharptail grouse, sage grouse, wild turkey and chuckar partridge. 

 

Cold and warm water fisheries are available and are used extensively. However, there are limited fishing areas that are open to the public, so the ones that are available received significant use. Game fish such as rainbow, brook and brown trout and tiger muskee inhabit our cold waters. The warm water fish include bass, walleye, crappie, and perch.

 

Big game hunting, particularly for deer and antelope, is a vital part of our local economy and hunting and fishing in general is a traditional part of life in the county.

Sage Grouse Listing Decision

DENVER, CO – An unprecedented, landscape-scale conservation effort across the western United States has significantly reduced threats to the greater sage-grouse across 90 percent of the species’ breeding habitat and enabled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to conclude that the charismatic rangeland bird does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This collaborative, science-based greater sage-grouse strategy is the largest land conservation effort in U.S. history.

The full decision document can be accessed here.