By Sarah Elmquist Squires

Managing Editor

Chairman of the Eastern Shoshone Business Council John St. Clair (right) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Sundaresan (left) provided remarks before announcing the investment of more than $10.5 million into the sagebrush ecosystem. Photo by D.Kornblut/USFWS

Last week federal officials announced a slew of funding aimed at helping to preserve and grow sagebrush ecosystems on the Wind River Reservation. Of the more than $10.5 million in 2024 funds for Western states, more than $1 million will be used on conservation projects in collaboration with tribal leaders. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Siva Sundaresan led an event announcing the projects last week, and noted collaboration was key to the success of the efforts. “Wildlife conservation is a shared responsibility. To be successful, we must continue to work together to make significant progress on the natural resource issues facing all of us,” he said. “Through this work, we are strengthening important relationships between the [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service], states and tribes.” 

Fish and Wildlife staff gathered with tribal leaders at the Washakie Reservoir for the announcement, along with representatives from Shoshone and Arapaho Fish and Game.  

“These sagebrush projects will combat invasive grasses and wildfire, reduce encroaching conifers, safeguard precious water resources for neighboring communities and wildlife, and promote community and economic sustainability,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams. 

Some of the more than $1 million that will be used in collaboration with tribes include a project on the Wind River Reservation that will construct about eight miles of wildlife-friendly riparian fencing to keep cattle from mesic areas and installing solar wells and livestock tanks to provide off-stream livestock water. That project has a price tag of about $300,000. 

Another project that will be organized in partnership with the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes is a $584,763 project to manage invasive grass to protect approximately 100,000 acres of sagebrush habitat in Wyoming. In Nevada, federal officials will work in conjunction with the Summit Lake Paiute Tribe to help reduce the spread of invasive grasses using herbicide and native seeding. 

“As we continue to work alongside our partners on projects that are conserving the sagebrush ecosystem, we are creating good-paying jobs which bolster local economies, and we are strengthening important relationships between the service, states and tribes in these landscapes,” Sundaresan noted. 

To learn more about the sagebrush conservation projects, visit