July 27, 2007
Contact: Bruce Collins
Private and Corporate Volunteers to Help BLM Conserve Habitat
Volunteerism is "alive and doing quite well" in Lander, according to Tim Kramer of the Bureau of Land Management Lander Field Office. A natural resource specialist in the fuels program, Kramer and approximately 20-30 volunteers will spend this Saturday and Sunday fencing off 15 acres of Aspen habitat in the Willow Creek area on Green Mountain.
Kramer is pleased and amazed with the volunteer list. "It keeps growing," he explained, and includes individuals and organizations from "elsewhere in Wyoming and from out of state, as well." At present the volunteers are from the BLM, EnCana Corporation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), Wyoming Game and Fish, Devon Energy, the AFL-CIO, Flint Energy, Trihydro, Blackhorse Construction, CDL Habitat, and private landowners Dave and Linda Lieb and Dorsey Mace. Funding for the woven wire sheet fencing is being provided by an RMEF grant and EnCana, Kramer said. RMEF has participated in several similar projects in preceding years.
"The purpose of the fence is to keep cattle and elk out until the Aspen trees recover and grow to a height of 7-10 feet," said Kramer. "We started this project about two years ago in 65 acres of Aspen habitat on Green Mountain by removing the encroaching pine trees," he said.
Kramer attributes some of the popularity of this project to the fact that it combines a fuels and wildlife habitat project into one. Aspen groves help deter wildfire, he stated. "One of our project goals in this Wildland Urban Interface area was to make the five cabins here more defensible from wildfire" he explained. Wildland Urban Interface (or WUI) is a program that looks for ways to influence fire behavior in Wildland areas with human habitation in order to avoid future disasters. "The other was restoring and improving aspen stands in the area that is very critical to wildlife," he added.
Another big factor was the RMEF’s and EnCana’s enthusiasm for the project, Kramer said. "It’s all about getting out and giving something back (to the community and the land)," he explained. "People here want to get involved," he said.
For more information on BLM volunteer projects and programs, contact your local BLM office or go to: www.blm.gov/wy