Wet Meadow Restoration: Greater Sage Grouse in NW Colorado

Early September the PF Seed Program, helped sponsor a project to restore riparian and wet meadow habitat near the town of Craig in northwestern Colorado. Pheasants Forever Working Lands for Wildlife Biologists from Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah all participated in the event organized by the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, NRCS/PF-Working Lands for Wildlife, Bio-Logic, Wildland Restoration Volunteers (WRV), and Visintainer Sheep Co, where the project took place.

Wet meadows, or mesic areas, contain crucial brood-rearing habitat for the Greater Sage Grouse and host numerous benefits to other wildlife and livestock. In these sagebrush rangelands of northwestern Colorado elk and mule deer along with neo-tropical migratory birds use these wet meadows at some point throughout the year. Over time the meadows have been damaged by erosion and lower water tables altered by drought, intense rain events, and a changing climate.

Using simple but innovative techniques derived from restoration guru Bill Zeedyk the group was able to start restoring the meadow with rock, or “Zeedyk” structures. The goal with these structures is to raise the water table, slow erosion, and support a diversity of plants and insects. These wet meadows are crucial to the Greater Sage Grouse as within the first few weeks of being hatched chicks need high protein insects to survive into adolescence and these mesic areas provide this excellent habitat. The wet meadows also allow plants to stay green, and grow later in the season, providing excellent forage for elk, deer, and livestock. Since soil disturbance is an integral facet of the rock structure implementation the PF Seed Program was able to provide a native pollinator forb seed mix in and around these structures to promote greater insect pollinator activity, providing excellent early brood rearing habitat for Greater Sage Grouse. The South Denver Metro Pheasants Forever Chapter of Colorado donated the seed and PF Chapters in CO help contribute to our private land’s biologist program ensuring that projects like these continue to grow.

Dozens of volunteers were mentored and led by Bob Timberman of USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Shawn Conner of Bio-Logic, Brian Holmes of CO Parks & Wildlife, William Vieth of Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, and Rebecca Burton a Working Lands for Wildlife Biologist with Pheasants Forever/NRCS.  Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, a Colorado based non-profit who organizes volunteers to work on conservation projects in Colorado and southern Wyoming, was an integral component of the project as they organized and provided the manpower to make quite an impact. The Covid-19 pandemic brought additional challenges implementing the project, but by limiting the group size to 25 volunteers per day, maintaining social distancing of 6+ feet whenever possible, and wearing masks while working in close proximities allowed to make it a reality.

Throughout the 4-day event almost 50 structures were built, new partnerships developed, and numerous encounters with the Greater Sage Grouse to the point where a few were able to harvest this iconic bird on surrounding public lands. Special thanks goes out to all the partners involved while Pheasants Forever looks forward to other opportunities of wet meadow restoration in the West. 

Sites were selected down a major drainage on the property where piles of rocks from a local quarry were staged for the event.
Shawn Conner of Bio-Logic, (far right), explains the proper method for building the rock structures.
Left to Right: Annelyse Matzinger and Rebecca Burton of Pheasants Forever mask up as they put finishing touches on a rock rundown structure.
Left to Right: Brian Holmes of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Bob Timberman of USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program led this effort by selecting project sites, landowner relations, and inclusion of partners.
Left to Right: Jason LeVan, Michael Peyton, Larry Glassburn (WRV volunteer), Rebecca Burton, Annaelyse Matzinger, and Charlie Holtz of Pheasants Forever were grateful to assist on this unique opportunity.
Multiple forb species growing throughout the wet meadow whereby adding a diverse native pollinator seed mix in and amongst the rock structures will help ensure forb integration after project disturbance has ceased.
Western yarrow pokes through rocks where after applying the native forb seed mix this fall will promote greater diversity of pollinator species that bloom throughout the growing season, providing insect rich habitat for Wester Sage Grouse.
Left to Right: Pheasants Forever Biologists Jason LeVan of Lander, WY – Michael Peyton of Tremonton, UT, – Rebecca Burton of Craig, CO, – Charlie Holtz and Annelyse Matzinger of Vernal, Utah take a breather after building a “Zuni bowl”.
Left to Right-Pheasants Forever Biologists Michael Peyton, Jason LeVan, and Charlie Holtz mid-day before all three were able to harvest Greater Sage Grouse, which was a first for Jason and Charlie.

Winners of the 2020 Banquet Raffle!

We want to thank every South Metro Pheasants Forever Member and their respective guest, Sponsors, Underwriters, Table Purchasers for turning your Spring 2020 banquet tickets into a donation to the South Metro Pheasants Forever postponed Banquet. It was an unfortunate event that we were not able to hold our live banquet this year because of the current Environment and COVID-19 as this is always a time of camaraderie and fun for all supporting a common goal. Our top priority was the safety and well being of everyone of our members to keep everyone healthy and safe to be able to enjoy the upcoming Pheasant Season and future seasons.

For this donation, South Metro Pheasants Forever took a few of our Guns scheduled for raffle items at our banquet to put into to a raffle to say thank you for your efforts and your generosity. We additionally added in our Pheasants Forever 2020 Print of the year and our Quail Forever 2020 Print of the year.

The Winners of the Raffle are listed below. We will contact each winner directly and work out a time to pick up the Prints and also work out a day and time to go to Bass Pro Shops in Denver to pick up their firearm and do the back ground Check. (All winning firearms are subject to a successful background check. Any person not able to pass the background check will automatically relinquish the winning firearm back to South Metro Pheasants Forever.)

Winner of the Legacy Pointer 12 Ga. O/U: David McDonald

Legacy Pointer 12 Ga

Winner of the Savage Axis .30-.06 with Synthetic Stock: Michelle Seubert
(Michelle works for CPW at Barr Lake and we are proud to have her as a South Metro Pheasants Forever Chapter Member)

Winner of the CZ Quail 20 Ga. Youth Shotgun of the year: Beverly Edwards

Winner of the Pheasants Forever 2020 Print of the Year: William Oneill

Winner of the Quail Forever 2020 Print of the Year: Jeff Terrill

Again thank you for your donation and generosity. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Spring 2021 South Metro Pheasants Forever Banquet March 13, 2021 at the Marriott South in Lone Tree, CO

Be Well, Stay Healthy & Have a great 2020 Pheasant Season!!!!!

David Oine, Banquet Chair

South Metro Pheasants Forever #0816

2020 SMPF Banquet Status

Dear Members and valued supporters of South Metro Pheasants Forever:

We wanted to update everyone on our Banquet Status and Education & Outreach plans.

Banquet Status:

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have been forced to postpone our 2020 banquet until March 13, 2021. It simply is not practical for us to try to commit to a venue and rescheduled date for 2020. Your health and wellbeing, as well as ours is our biggest concern.  As you know, we are a non-profit organization and we depend upon donations from you, our Pheasants Forever family, to fund our habitat and outreach projects every year. Our annual banquet is our primary source of funding for the entire year.

Sponsors – We appreciate your support! While there is no banquet this year, sponsoring the Chapter will help fund our habitat and outreach efforts. If you would be willing to leave your sponsorship money as a donation this year, we will put you into our sponsor drawings, as we do at our banquet. If you are a sponsor that automatically receives a gun, you will get that and still be in the other drawings. We will also have three other door prizes and guns that you will be in a drawing for, if you have bought a table, your guests will be in this drawing. If you do not want to be a sponsor for the 2020 year we will send you a refund. 

Non-sponsor Members – We appreciate your support! If you are willing to make your banquet money a donation this year we will put you into a special drawing for three guns. That is 3 chances to win a gun. If you would rather receive a refund for the 2020 year we will send you one.

Our deadline for this is August 16th and we will be doing the drawing August 23rd. If we do not hear from you, we will assume that you want to go ahead and leave your money as a donation and participate in the drawing. We appreciate all you do to help with our passion for conservation and outreach projects. We could not do any of this without you. 

Please don’t hesitate to email or call with any questions or if you would like a refund. We are very saddened at the turn of events this year and look forward to hopefully seeing you all next year!  Our 2021 Banquet is scheduled for March 13, 2021 at the Denver Marriott South at Park Meadows.

If you have not yet sent money in and would like to be in the drawings and support the Chapter, please do this by August 16th. Please note, these charitable donation WILL NOT carry over to the 2021 banquet. We will be providing our normal registration process starting January 2021.

All the memberships purchased as part of your 2020 banquet package have been processed to continue your membership benefits.

The Banquet Committee is looking into conducting an online auction to help supplant our funding shortfall this year. More to come… Please contact Dean Titterington at 303-981-4642 or DLT2727@aol.com if you have any questions or concerns.

Education & Outreach Events:

Many of our outreach events are conducted in partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) at Barr Lake State Park. The August events were mutually agreed to cancel per CPW and the Chapter.

LAugust 8th – Mentor Day at Barr Lake – CANCELLED
August 23rd – Shotgun Clinic at Barr Lake – CANCELLED

September 19th – Shotgun Clinic at Barr Lake – Still Scheduled
October 4th – Shotgun Clinic at Barr Lake – Still Scheduled
October 18th – Novice Hunt at Valhalla – Still Scheduled

In addition to the obvious health considerations, one critical determining factor for conducting the scheduled hunts is the number of PF Volunteers we have available to facilitate the event. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN AND COMFORTABLE VOLUNTEERING please contact Dean Titterington at 303-981-4642 or DLT2727@aol.com.

Chapter Meetings

For now our in-person Chapter meetings at Cabela’s are on hold.

We are continuing to adhere to all local and statewide health requirements as we consider all event and meeting planning. Please be safe out there and we all look forward to someday returning to “normal”.

Thank you,

David King, President
South Metro Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever