U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Wyoming
 
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The tracked excavator mulches an opening through the dense thicket. Most treatments have been conducted on frozen ground to minimize soil disturbance.
The tracked excavator mulches an opening through the dense thicket. Most treatments have been conducted on frozen ground to minimize soil disturbance.
Fire and fuels Range Technicians Justin Spurrier and Andy Rothleutner re-cut and chemically treat stumps as well as the bases of small Russian olive trees and salt cedar plants not cut by the mulching machine.
Fire and fuels Range Technicians Justin Spurrier and Andy Rothleutner re-cut and chemically treat stumps as well as the bases of small Russian olive trees and salt cedar plants not cut by the mulching machine.
Triclopyr works best on a fresh cut, so Range Management Specialist Bryan McKenzie re-cuts a mulched stump closer to the ground.
Triclopyr works best on a fresh cut, so Range Management Specialist Bryan McKenzie re-cuts a mulched stump closer to the ground.
Coordinated Resource Management Group Mulches Its Way to Better Habitat

By Sarah Beckwith, Public Affairs Specialist, Wind River-Bighorn Basin District

Eradicating hundreds of acres of extremely dense thickets of Russian olive and salt cedar calls for a long-term, labor-intensive, multi-agency effort—and a really big mulching machine!

The Yellowtail Coordinated Resource Management (CRM) group has been working for the past five years to improve riparian habitat in the Yellowtail Wildlife Habitat Management Area and adjacent private lands near the Highway 37 bridge, east of Lovell, Wyo. The CRM is truly a collaborative effort. Funding has primarily come from Wyoming Natural Resource Trust Board, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, BLM, Wyoming Game and Fish Department Trust Fund, National Park Service, and National Wild Turkey Federation. This year, BLM’s Cody and Worland Field Offices have provided much of the labor with staff from fire, fuels and range.

The tracked excavator with a mulching attachment, operated by Swaggart Enterprises from Ritter, Ore., can turn a large Russian olive tree to mulch in a matter of seconds. But because Russian olive will sprout after being cut, the BLM crew follows behind the mulching machine and sprays an herbicide called triclopyr, mixed with a penetrating oil, on cut stumps. The triclopyr-oil mix is drawn down through the roots, killing the plant.

By mechanically and chemically removing the aggressive Russian olive and water-sucking salt cedar from these riparian areas, wildlife like deer, waterfowl, turkey and pheasant benefit as native vegetation begins to flourish.

To date, the CRM has treated 560 acres on the Shoshone and Big Horn Rivers within the Yellowtail Wildlife Habitat Management Area and on adjoining private lands, with treatment on another 240 acres currently underway.

“This is a fine example of different organizations and agencies getting together to get a job done,” said Range Management Specialist Jack Mononi of the Cody Field Office. “I look forward to continuing our efforts with the CRM, which will result in large-scale habitat improvements for many years to come.”

Area before treatment (2007).

Area after treatment (2009). In most treatment areas, the presence of native grasses and plants has been sufficient enough that revegetation has not been necessary.

Area before treatment (2007).

Area after treatment (2009). In most treatment areas, the presence of native grasses and plants has been sufficient enough that revegetation has not been necessary.


 
Last updated: 03-10-2010