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New guidelines aim to help develop wildlife-compatible fencing in Arizona


After years of research and development, the Arizona Game and Fish Department has finished its completely-revised fence guidelines aimed at helping landowners, project managers, land management agencies and others develop wildlife-compatible fencing across Arizona. 

Fencing is an important part of the landscape, but while it is meeting its objectives of keeping something out, improperly designed or located fences can dramatically reduce the “connectivity” of habitat and potentially cause injury to wildlife. Impermeable fences can fragment habitat into small islands of resources, isolating animals and leading to starvation, genetic isolation and disease.

The guidelines focus on fence design rather than detailed fence construction specifications. The goal is to provide guidance in designing a fence that will achieve its objective with minimum impact to wildlife.

“As the department tasked with managing and conserving the public’s wildlife, Game and Fish wants to work with those responsible for land management decisions to consider these recommended fencing guidelines early in their project,” said Josh Avey, Arizona Game and Fish Department habitat branch chief.

The new guidelines address: impacts of fencing on wildlife; fence design and types of materials; wildlife-permeable fencing; and, species-specific recommendations, among other specifics.

Habitat loss and fragmentation are leading causes of species extinctions. Game and Fish is working with many partners to protect interconnected networks of large natural areas in Arizona that support viable populations of wildlife.

“Wildlife populations need large areas of interconnected habitat to survive. We encourage landowners, developers and planners to use these guidelines early in the planning process,” says Avey.

To view these and other development-related guidelines, visit www.azgfd.gov/wildlifeplanning.

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