Our Wildlife and Uplands program works to promote healthy ecosystems and preserve the “working landscape” in the Big Hole River watershed through habitat conservation, invasive species management, wildlife conflict reduction, and community education & outreach.


  • Maintain habitat connectivity and migration corridors to benefit wildlife.
  • Support ranching, maintenance of open space, and land stewardship.
  • Manage invasive species through treatment, prevention, and education.
  • Prevent conflicts with predators and other wildlife.
  • Conserve, improve, and restore upland and sagebrush habitats.
  • Support voluntary action and improvement over regulatory enforcement.
  • Provide education and outreach regarding relevant wildlife & habitat topics.


The Big Hole watershed is home to abundant wildlife species, including large game, predators, and migratory birds. This abundance of wildlife is just one of the things that makes our watershed special. On a visit to the Big Hole, one may expect to see Sandhill cranes, countless birds of prey, deer & elk, fox, coyotes, and more. If you’re really lucky. you may even see one of our more elusive community members, such as a wolverine, a moose, a bear, or a wolf! 


In response to public concern regarding wildlife issues in the Big Hole watershed, BHWC formed a wildlife subcommittee in November 2008 to discuss wildlife management issues. The wildlife subcommittee invites solutions from all sides of wildlife issues and is led by Jim Hagenbarth, BHWC Vice-Chairman and rancher. An initiative of the wildlife subcommittee focuses on solutions to reduce conflict between predators and ranchers and is led by Dean Peterson, BHWC board member and rancher. Tana Nulph, Conservation Programs Coordinator, manages BHWC’s wildlife programs and grants.

A primary land use and occupation in the Big Hole is cattle ranching, and livestock producers often lease grazing allotments from the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. This proximity of livestock to wildlife can result in livestock depredation. Although recent grizzly bear sighting have been reported in our watershed, to date the majority of livestock depredation is caused by wolves. Wolves and wolf/livestock interactions are of concern to livestock producers in our area, as confirmed wolf depredations have been documented in the past. Positive identification of livestock kills on public land has often been lacking due to remote, rugged terrain, and rapid consumption by wolves or other scavenging species after depredation occurs.

Read more about our Wildlife Conflict Reduction initiative here.