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June 16, 2008

   Lesley A. Collins

BLM Employee Tom Bills Earns National Award

On June 6, 2007, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employee Tom Bills was honored with the Prairie Partners Award at the National Grasslands Managers Award Banquet in Fargo, ND.

Bills was nominated for the award by the United States Forest Service (USFS) Douglas Ranger District. "As a wildlife biologist for the BLM, Tom assisted the Douglas Ranger District in securing and coordinating partnership dollars to enable sage grouse habitat mapping on Thunder Basin National Grassland," said Forest Supervisor Mary Peterson.

Bills developed an agreement with the University of Montana to use remote sensing to evaluate sage brush conditions and assisted in developing a habitat mapping proposal that was eventually funded by the Northeast Wyoming Sage Grouse Working Group and the Forest Service. Since then, the State of Wyoming has adopted a similar process to map sage brush habitat across the rest of the state.

According to wildlife biologist Tim Byer "Thanks to Tom’s assistance and willingness to expand his existing contracts, the Thunder Basin National Grassland is now ahead of many parts of the state in the process to evaluate, and thus better manage the greater sage grouse and its habitat."

- BLM -