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Quarterly Steward

Winter 2011

Civil War Cannon 

Historical Artifacts Donated to Museums
Story by Ann Boucher
Montana State Office
After two decades in storage at Pompeys Pillar National Monument, a relic from the Civil War and four historical horse-drawn wagons are now at home in two Montana museums.  An 1863 ordnance rifle (cannon) used by federal troops during the Civil War is on permanent loan to the Rocky Mountain Museum of Military History in Missoula. A historical water wagon, field wagon, farm wagon, and log/ore wagon are at the Big Horn County Museum in Hardin.  [Read full story]  

BLM fire fighter 

Fire’s Effects on Range Health Studied
Story by Mark E. Jacobsen 
Eastern Montana/Dakotas District

MILES CITY, Mont. --- Local BLM firefighters recently completed the last of a series of prescribed burns in Prairie County which were part of a range research experiment designed to gauge the effect of fire in restoring balance to eastern Montana rangelands.  The purpose of the fire experiment, headed by Fort Keogh researcher Dustin Strong, was to monitor the effect on the native bunchgrass “purple three-awn” (Aristida purpurea). The burn was a component of a cooperative project among the BLM, the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory, and North Dakota State University.  [Read full story]

BLM employees at GIS workshop 

Butte Field Office Hosts GIS Day for Local Students
Story by David Abrams
Western Montana District

Bradlee Matthews had a message for the 16 high-school-age students gathered in the Butte Field Office conference room: GIS can not only change your life, it can save it.  Going off a list of “10 Ways GIS May Be a Part of Your Life,” the GIS specialist for the Butte Field Office, told the teenagers that Geographic Information Systems is an integral part of our everyday lives—whether we know it or not. It guides our cars through its Global Positioning System, it’s in our bathroom tracking water and sewer monitoring systems, it helps deliver the pizza to our front door, and it can get 911 emergency responders to our house to save us from a heart attack.  [Read full story]


BLM Commemorates the Homestead Act
Story by Mary Apple, with information compiled by the National Park Service, BLM, and Wikipedia
Montana State Office

How many of you live where you do because of the 1862 Homestead Act and its successor laws? Perhaps some of you live on land homesteaded by a family member or have a homesteader in your family tree.  Many of you rural dwellers may live on a piece of land that was originally patented by a homesteader and was subsequently sold or divided. If you live by a river or creek, it’s more than likely your property was once part of a homestead.  Don’t feel like you’re part of a select group though; 93,000,000 people alive today (or rather in 2007 when the stats were compiled) are descendants of homesteaders.  [Read full story]

Fullbright Family 

BLM Partners with Library to Document Montana Pioneers
Story by Craig Flentie
Central Montana District

In preparation for the 150th Anniversary of the 1862 Homestead Act, the BLM, in partnership with the Lewistown Public Library, is gathering and preserving historic documentation of central Montana homesteads.  “We are asking families to bring in historic photos and documents, postcards and letters, so that we can scan them and add them to the Montana Memory Project’s website,” said Archaeologist Zane Fulbright.  The Montana Memory Project is the Montana Historical Society’s digital archives and library, and is free and available to the public. Many historic photos documenting life in and around central Montana have already been added to this website, thanks to the efforts of the Lewistown Public Library staff.  [Read full story]

BLM bilogist with pelican 

Stranded Pelican Gets Dramatic Rescue
Story by Eve Byron
Helena Independent Record
Reprinted with permission

NEVADA CREEK RESERVOIR — Jim Sparks first noticed the pelican Oct. 4, when the Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist came here on a work-related field trip. The pelican was a large spot of white on the brown mudflats at the south end of the reservoir, all alone, having somehow missed the fall migration south. Sparks knew something was wrong.  He studied the bird, and realized it was missing its right wing. The pelican could swim just fine and scoop up fish to eat, but otherwise he wasn’t doing so well.  [Read full story]

log dam pattern 

Trout Stream Renovation 

Biologists hope that a small but hardy population of Yellowstone cutthroat trout will benefit from a project in Piney Creek in the Pryor Mountains.  The fall of 2010 found BLM biologists, range specialists, and fire crews dragging logs through the sage brush terrace and into Piney Creek.  By placing logs in and around the stream bed, biologists hoped to enhance the complexity of Yellowstone cuttrhoat trout habitat and boost the numbers and health of a small but pure aboriginal population rare to any stream this far east.  [Read full story]

BLM removes Russian olive trees 

Dillon Field Office Takes Care of the Russians
Story by David Abrams
Western Montana District

The Russians had to go.  At least that was the expert opinion of the Dillon Field Office staff as it considered the Russian olive trees which had sprung up along the lower Madison River. The Russian olive, known as Elaeagnus angustifolia, is an invasive species introduced to the U.S. in the late 1800s from its native central and western Asia. When found, it must be dealt with quickly and decisively.  So, on Aug. 20, Ed Coon and other members of his Dillon Field Office team went out to Trapper Springs Campground, chainsaws in hand, to take care of the invading Russians.  [Read full story]