| About | News-Events | Your District | Board & Staff | Links | Contact
| Water | District Operations | Wildlife | Public-Private Lands

Conservation Forestry


Living Snow Fences

Wyoming Tree Manual

Wyoming's Conservation Districts distributed 103,637 seedling trees to Wyoming citizens during the 2013 seedling tree program. Many of these seedlings result in additional living snow fence and windbreak plantings. These plantings provide phenomenal aesthetic values, snow and wind control benefits, and wildlife habitat. For more information on tree plantings contact your local Conservation District or Extension Service.

Click here for a list of seedling tree distributors in Wyoming.

The Wyoming Living Snow Fence Program is a cooperative effort between the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT), Wyoming State Forestry Division (WSFD), local Conservation Districts (CD) and private landowners to implement windbreak plantings for the purpose of snow catchment along State highways. Living Snow Fence plantings enhance State and County efforts to keep roads safe and open during periods of adverse winter weather while reducing highway maintenance expenditures. The Program provides funds to cover the costs of planting and maintaining LSF projects. WYDOT provides $100,000 annually to the Program.

Between 2000 and 2010, ninety one projects with a total of 257,523 lineal feet or 48.77 miles of tree row have been installed. These plantings will provide strategic protection for 16.95 miles of public roadway upon establishment.

There are forests in Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota that are experiencing bark beetle epidemics at a historically unprecedented scale. For more information, go to the Region 2 Forest Service website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/bark-beetle/index.html or Firewise Wyoming website at http://www.firewisewyoming.com/Publications.html

Click here to view videos about living snow fences and windbreaks in Wyoming.

Living snow fences, when properly designed and located, can assist with control of relocated snow, provide stable and high quality wildlife habitat, enhance environmental aesthetics, furnish winter protection for domestic livestock, and reduce highway snow control costs.

Living barriers take time to reach effective heights and densities following establishment. Some sites may not support living fences. In arid climates effort is required to establish trees and shrubs. However, by using certain techniques, establishment can be accomplished.

Barrier features which affect drifting should be known and understood when designing living fences. Such features include height, density, and length.

Location and design of living fences are not necessarily the same as for farmstead, livestock, or field wind and snow barriers. Density, distances, species, and wildlife components commonly used in the latter may need to be altered to meet snow storage and other objectives of living fences.

A number of materials and techniques can aid in living fence establishment and growth on arid sites. Other than drip systems, plastic and polypropylene fabrics can aid dryland plantings.

High winds not only have a major effect on the microclimate and increase the wind-chill index, but also cause structural damage to buildings, fences, shade trees, vehicles, and other property from both the physical force of the wind and abrasion from wind born particles. The most appreciated benefit of an effective windbreak is the reduction of wind velocity, thus modifying the climate to reduce heat gains in summer and heat losses in winter. The correct arrangement of trees and shrubs in a windbreak can reduce wind velocity as much as 85 percent.

Heating and cooling of homes is a major use of energy. Energy use in residences represents 17 percent of the total energy use in the United States. Through proper windbreak establishment, an energy savings of 15 to 20 percent can be experienced by the average home owner each year.

Please enjoy some informative videos on living snow fences and windbreaks. For assistance in designing and planting your living wind barriers, make sure to contact your local conservation district.

History of Living Snow Fences
This video depicts the history of living snow fences in Wyoming.

Benefits of Living Snow Fences
Watch this video to learn some of the many benefits of living snow fences.

Planting A Seedling
In this video Dennis Hemmer, Tree Specialist, Laramie County Conservation District, demonstrates how to plant a seedling.
Planting A Bare Root Shrub
This video shows Dennis Hemmer, Tree Specialist, Laramie County Conservation District, planting a bare root shrub for a windbreak in Laramie County.

Planting A Windbreak
This video shows Laramie County Conservation District assisting in planting a windbreak for homeowners in Laramie County.

Things to Consider When Designing a Windbreak
Dennis Hemmer, Tree Specialist, Laramie County Conservation District, discusses considerations of designing a windbreak. He touches on purpose, location, and design, something your local conservation district will assist you with when you plan your next living wind barrier planting.

Taking Care of Your Seedlings
Now that you've designed, selected, and planted, it's time to take care of your seedlings. Dennis Hemmer with the Laramie County Conservation District is here to help with tips about weed barriers, watering, and replacements for lost trees.

Generations of Living Snow Fences & Windbreaks
A Laramie County landowner tells the story of living windbreaks on his family's operation.

What About the Pine Beetle?
Many landowners are concerned about the loss of trees in their windbreaks and living snow fences. Dennis Hemmer, Tree Specialist, Laramie County Conservation District, discusses what conservation districts are doing to help with this concern.

Wyoming Assn. of Conservation Districts | 517 E. 19th Street | Cheyenne, WY 82001 | (307) 632-5716 phone | (307) 638-4099 fax

Mission: The Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts provides leadership for the conservation of Wyoming's soil and water resources, promotes the control of soil erosion, promotes and protects the quality of Wyoming's waters, reduce siltation of stream channels and reservoirs, promote wise use of Wyoming's water, and all other natural resources, preserve and enhance wildlife habitat, protect the tax base and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of this state through a responsible conservation ethic.