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Cody Field Office
Release Date: 06/23/11
Contacts: Sarah Beckwith,    

Partners Plant Shrubs for Wildlife

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Cody Field Office, Marathon Oil Corporation, Meadowlark Audubon Society and National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) came together on a recent Saturday to plant 650 shrubs on public land along the Shoshone River east of Lovell, Wyo.

More than 30 volunteers planted the shrubs to replace invasive Russian olive, which the BLM mechanically and chemically removed from this area two years ago. Russian olive can take control of river bottoms and out-compete native vegetation in the cottonwood understory. Deer, waterfowl, turkey, pheasant and other wildlife species benefit when Russian olive is removed and space is made for native vegetation to flourish.

NWTF’s Energy for Wildlife program provided the funds to purchase the hundreds of shrubs. “Silver buffalo berry is the native shrub-of-choice because it produces a fruit similar to the Russian olive’s but doesn’t out-compete other native vegetation,” said BLM Wildlife Biologist Destin Harrell. “This results in a diversity of flora for wildlife.” Skunkbush sumac, golden currant and cottonwood trees were also planted.

BLM Wildlife Biologist Destin Harrell explains that silver buffalo berry is the best shrub to plant to replace the Russian olive that has been removed.
Swede Kania has found a shovel 
just the right size for digging. Her dad and sister are ready to plant 
the silver buffalo berry.
Aaron Kania shows his daughters, Swede and Lily, how to prepare 
the seedling for planting.
Mike Williams (Marathon) adds 
water to the shrub his wife, Paige, and daughter, Miranda, are planting.

Mike Williams, environmental supervisor for Marathon’s Wyoming Asset Team, anticipates that this project will help Marathon plan future habitat improvements. “We’ll be able to learn from our collaborative success on this project and then apply those lessons to other riparian habitat projects on private property elsewhere in Wyoming,” Williams said.

The 300 acre river tract where the workday took place is part of the greater Yellowtail Wildlife Habitat Management Area. The Yellowtail Coordinated Resource Management (CRM) group has worked for the past several years to improve riparian habitat in this area and on adjacent private lands. The CRM is truly a collaborative effort, with funding primarily from the Wyoming Natural Resource Trust Board, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, BLM, Wyoming Game and Fish Department Trust Fund, National Park Service, and NWTF. The BLM’s Cody and Worland field offices have provided much of the labor with staff from fire, fuels and range programs. The recent volunteer shrub-planting day continues the riparian habitat improvement work of the CRM.

“This is public land. It belongs to all of us so we’re chipping in to make it better,” said Williams. “It will feel good to come back here in the future and see the improvements we made today.”

For more information, please contact Harrell at 307-578-5900.

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.

Cody Field Office   1002 Blackburn Street      Cody, WY 82414  

Last updated: 06-23-2011