Pinus contorta murrayana leaves and cones

WACD’s Conservation Forestry Programs

WYOMING LIVING SNOW FENCE PROGRAM

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 2019, one hundred forty-one projects with a total of 411,670 linear feet or 77.97 miles of tree row have been installed. These plantings will provide strategic protection for 27.82 miles of public roadway upon establishment.

BARK BEETLE INFORMATION

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.

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

Several local conservation districts are implementing, in partnership with other local, state and private industry, bark beetle mitigation programs.  For assistance on forest health and opportunities for mitigating for bark beetle please contact your local conservation district.

LIVING SNOW FENCES

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 that 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-borne 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 homeowner each year.

URBAN AND COMMUNITY FORESTRY

Many local Conservation Districts are actively engaged in Urban & Community Forestry projects.  For more information on programs and projects in your community please contact your local conservation districts.

For more information on the types of projects being implemented across the state please check out the videos on our Youtube channel.