Montana/Dakotas

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Montana BLMers Receive Forest Service Partnership Award

by Ann Boucher, Montana State Office

 award recipients with Forest Service officials
From left: Joel Holtrop, Deputy Chief for the Forest Service; Wendy Warren, civil engineer, BLM Miles City Field Office; Darin Watschke, fisheries biologist, Custer National Forest; and Dwight Fielder, BLM Division Chief for Fish, Wildlife & Plant Conservation. 
Forest Service Photo
 

Five BLM-Montana employees are recipients of the U.S. Forest Service’s 2008 Rise to the Future Partnership Award. 

Jim Sparks and Jay Parks (Billings Field Office); Joe Platz and Wendy Warren (Miles City Field Office); and Gayle Sitter (Montana State Office) are commended for their support, leadership, and commitment to the Crooked Creek Barrier Project. The interagency effort will protect and expand one of three genetically pure populations of Yellowstone cutthroat trout on both BLM and Forest Service lands in the Pryor Mountains. 

“This project and the subsequent protection and expansion of the Crooked Creek Yellowstone cutthroat trout population would not have been possible without the outstanding cooperation and leadership of the BLM,” wrote nominator Darin Watschke, fisheries biologist for the Custer National Forest. “The population can now expand downstream and re-colonize over six stream miles of lower Crooked Creek in the absence of exotic species.”

The Billings Field Office, Custer National Forest, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks worked cooperatively to construct the barrier in late summer 2007 on BLM-administered lands. Joe Platz, who has since taken a new job with the Forest Service in Oregon, described the project in the Winter 2007-2008 Quarterly Stewardhttp://www.blm.gov/mt/st/en/info/newsroom/steward/07winter/barrier.html.

Wendy Warren accepted the award from the Chief of the Forest Service on behalf of the group during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on October 22.