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Release Date: 03/06/12
Contacts: Deanna Masterson, 303-239-3671    
  Marcia deChadenedes, 303-239-3752    

BLM Colorado Honors 2011 Stewardship Award Winners (03-06-12)

MONTROSE, Colo. – Today, Bureau of Land Management Colorado State Director Helen Hankins presented Troy Schnurr, McInnis Canyons NCA Lead Park Ranger and the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area Resource Management Team with the fourth annual Eric Finstick Stewardship Award.

The award recognizes the contribution of BLM employees in managing BLM’s special places, through remembrance of long-time BLM Colorado Wilderness Coordinator Eric Finstick.

“Eric was an exemplary steward of public lands and was dedicated to preserving wilderness and the public’s special places,” said Helen Hankins. “This year we are honored to celebrate two award recipients. Troy Schnurr and the Gunnison Gorge NCA Resource Management Team made great contributions in the preservation and stewardship of BLM Colorado’s special places.”
Through local cooperative partnerships with the Colorado Youth Conservation Corps, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the weed and fire staffs of the Grand Junction Field Office and the Mesa County Weed Crew, Troy Schnurr has treated hundreds of acres of non-native trees and weeds that would otherwise dominate the river corridor, improving biological condition and opening new space for recreational use.  In his focus on the river corridor, he has developed three tools for native species restoration that have been recognized nationally and emulated by other offices.  Schnurr also worked to create the BLM’s first “Weed Raft,” a raft equipped to enable crews to treat benches on the river for invasive species.  He was recognized nationally as the River Manager of the Year by the River Management Society, in part for this invention. Schnurr’s efforts have contributed considerably to the visitor experience at McInnis Canyons NCA; visitors are very vocal about their appreciation of his projects, the healthy trees and river, and the enhanced recreation opportunities.

The Gunnison Gorge NCA Resource Management Team developed and hosted an environmental education program fostering stewardship for six middle schools from Delta, Paonia, Montrose, Olathe and Hotchkiss, over a four day period. The environmental education field study provided students with an opportunity to appreciate the natural world by allowing them to explore and learn in a hands-on manner. As a result of this project, 650 students and 75 volunteers, parents and chaperones now are familiar with fly tying, macro-invertebrate collection, identification and analysis, low impact camping, principals of respectful interaction with the wildlife in the canyon, ecosystem awareness and conscientious recreation habits.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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Last updated: 03-06-2012