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Conservation on the Wind River Reservation

A soil survey and range inventory on two million acres of Tribal land was recently completed, thanks to the cooperation of NRCS Wyoming, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the Joint Tribes. As a result, Tribes and partners could now finish range planning. Their goal of improved range health and irrigation water management practices on crop ground for the reservation is coming to fruition.

• The Arapahoe Ranch is owned and operated by the Northern Arapahoe Tribe on the Wind River Indian Reservation. It is a 400,000 acre cow/ calf operation. The Arapahoe Ranch participated in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to install approximately six miles of livestock pipelines, four spring developments and seven water troughs. The improvement in livestock distribution will ultimately improve the range condition, resulting in greater weight gains for calves, less stress through reduced trailing to water, and improved livestock production for the Tribe. More income for the Tribe means a better quality of life for its members.

• EQIP has assisted 35 producers to install more than 40 center pivot systems, covering about 4,000 acres of hay ground as well as more than fifty producers to install gated pipe systems on approximately 3400 acres of hay ground. Improved hay production has allowed producers to reduce the amount of hay they must buy to feed livestock through the winter. Improved irrigation efficiencies have resulted in less water used, lower labor costs and better soil fertility with the reduction in topsoil erosion.

• NRCS technical and financial assistance has improved the economic viability of Tribal members. Benefits to the community have been significant. Producers frequently comment on their increased crop yields and how these systems have enabled them to better manage their water, fertilizer and weed control.

• Both Tribes are active participants in Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

Success of program delivery on the Wind River Indian Reservation is due to interagency cooperation between the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe Tribes, BIA  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Partners for Wildlife Program) and the NRCS.

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