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Wind River/Bighorn Basin District
Release Date: 04/25/12
Contacts: Sarah Beckwith    

BLM, Washakie County and Students Partner on Big Horn River Island

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Worland Field Office recently partnered with Worland High School students, Washakie County Weed and Pest Control District, Washakie County Conservation District and Natural Resources Conservation Service to return an island in the Big Horn River to its natural state.

Passing Russian olive branches.
Haley Krump passes Russian olive branches 
to Zainab Khorakiwala.
Draging a branch.
Zainab Khorakiwala drags a branch across 
the Big Horn River.
Retrieving cut Russian olive branches.
BLM firefighters and 
high school students retrieve the cut Russian olive branches from 
the island.
Chemically treating the stumps.
Washakie County Weed and Pest Supervisor Jarrod Glanz chemically treats the stumps after BLM Fire Management Officer Chuck Russell cuts the Russian olives.
The community project began last Friday when BLM Wind River/Bighorn Basin District Firefighters cut down dense thickets of Russian olive trees on the island adjacent to Riverside Park in Worland. The invasive trees were removed because they were outcompeting native grasses and cottonwood trees on the two acre island. Washakie County Weed and Pest Supervisor Jarrod Glanz followed behind the sawyers, chemically treating the stumps to prevent the trees from re-sprouting.

Motorists crossing the bridge on Big Horn Avenue Monday morning were likely surprised by the sight of students in thigh-deep water, dragging tree limbs and trunks across the river. Thirty-seven Worland High School students from the zoology, field biology and field geology classes, along with their teachers, hauled the previously-cut trees from the island to a chipper stationed in the park.

Kitsy Barnes' field biology class was recently selected as one of three classes from across the state to serve in a University of Wyoming school-community engagement initiative. The Russian olive eradication workday was the beginning of a multi-year park beautification project the class chose for this pilot program.

As the workday concluded, BLM Fire Management Officer Chuck Russell talked to the group about seasonal employment opportunities with the BLM and emphasized the importance of having a positive attitude when working with others. “You all brought different strengths to the project and I was pleased to see the whole group come together and get the job done,” Russell said.

For more information, please contact Russell at 307-347-5100.

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.

Wind River/Bighorn Basin District   101 South 23rd      Worland, WY 82401  

Last updated: 04-25-2012