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Eastern Montana/Dakotas District Office
Release Date: 01/27/12
Contacts: Mark Jacobsen 406-233-2831    

BLM Staff Recognized by National Wild Turkey Federation

Staff members from the BLM South Dakota Field Office were recently selected to receive the “National Making Tracks with the BLM Award” from the National Wild Turkey Federation at the organization’s annual convention to be held this February in Nashville, Tenn.

Travis Lipp, Ryan Larson, Bitsy Stiller and Chuck Berdan will be recognized for their efforts to improve ecosystem function and wildlife habitat on the BLM-administered Fort Meade Recreation Area located near Sturgis, S.D.

The group was a good fit for the NWTF Habitat Management Projects category; a single year award for projects that best incorporate active wild turkey management into ecosystem management projects that significantly benefit habitat improvement for the wild turkey.
The Fort Meade Recreation Area is comprised of approximately 6,700 acres with the southern two-thirds being forested with riparian stringers and inter-mingled grasslands. 
The BLM South Dakota Field Office developed an intensive management plan to improve forest health by taking measures to encourage hardwood establishment, rejuvenate decadent bur oak woodlands and deciduous draws. The plan also made allowances to halt pine encroachment into meadows in order to maintain open park-like stands of ponderosa pine.
The results have been both improved wildlife habitat and a reduction of hazardous fuels accumulation.
The NWTF has been a vital ally by securing funding to assist with BLM habitat improvement projects and has continued to assist with South Dakota projects similar to those at the Fort Meade Recreation Area.
The South Dakota Field Office will continue to work with the NWTF in planning efforts as the federation has many of the same goals and objectives as the BLM.
“Fort Meade has long been recognized as some of the finest habitat for the Merriam’s wild turkey throughout their range,” said BLM Lead Wildlife Biologist Dale Tribby. “As a result of natural succession and a lack of periodic fire, the vegetative composition of the area has changed, resulting in a decrease in habitat quality for wild turkeys and other species.”
Tribby is based out of the Miles City Field Office in Miles City, Mont.
“As a result of the efforts of the South Dakota Field Office, bur oaks will continue to flourish and mast producing shrubs such as common chokecherry will benefit,” said Tribby, who works a variety of BLM habitat issues across the Eastern Montana – Dakotas District.
“Through the cooperative efforts of the BLM and the National Wild Turkey Federation, this project exemplifies the benefits which can be realized.”
The bureau’s Fort Meade habitat improvement work has been previously featured on the NWTF television show “Get in the Game” with a show highlighting “Big Sky Projects in South Dakota”.
For more information contact the BLM South Dakota Field Office at: 605.892.7000 or visit them on the web at: For further information on the National Wild Turkey Federation go to:

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.

Eastern Montana/Dakotas District Office   111 Garryowen Road      Miles City, MT 59301  

Last updated: 06-28-2012