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Conservation Forestry


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. For more information, please visit the Wyoming State Forestry Division website. 

Between 2000 and 2017, one hundred thirty one projects with a total of 386,990 lineal feet or 73.29 miles of tree row have been installed. These plantings will provide strategic protection for 25.57 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.

Additional information on the Wyoming bark beetle funding program can be found on the Wyoming State Forestry website

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 visit our YouTube page to view 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.

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.