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Buffalo Field Office
Release Date: 08/16/12
Contacts: Lesley A. Elser    

BLM Buffalo Field Office Partners with Wyoming Conservation Corp and Devon Energy for Preservation, Restoration and Education in the Powder River Basin:
Employees volunteer to preserve mountain mahogany, restore water monitoring wells, and educate Wyoming's future energy and community leaders

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Buffalo Field Office, along with Wyoming Conservation Corps (WCC) and Devon Energy's Gillette Field Office volunteered more than 50 hours during a 10-day project from Aug. 6-15 in the Southern Big Horn Mountains. Volunteers focused on improving wildlife conditions, fixing water monitoring systems, and educating the next generation of community and energy industry leaders.

"We are thrilled to continue our volunteer efforts alongside the Wyoming Conservation Corps and Devon Energy, building on the many initiatives we’ve completed in the past," said BLM Buffalo Field Office Manager Duane Spencer. "These activities are essential to the BLM’s success and truly benefit the entire community."


Mountain Mahogany Conservation.
BLM, Devon Energy and WCC recently cooperated on conservation efforts for mountain mahogany.

     BLM and Devon employees.
BLM and Devon Energy employees stand in front of a rig site on education day.
Specific elements of the 10-day volunteer effort included:

  • Mountain Mahogany Conservation: Mountain mahogany is an evergreen shrub and cornerstone to wildlife conservation. It not only provides food for many forms of wildlife, but it also provides cover from heat and predators and a place for nesting. Volunteers focused on conserving this natural resource by clearing neighboring juniper and ponderosa pines, which pose a significant threat to the growth and maintenance of mahogany.
  • Water Monitoring System Upkeep: Water monitoring wells are scattered throughout the Powder River Basin and are used to measure water levels and quality. Volunteers performed maintenance repairs such as painting well huts, removing unnecessary fence lines, burying conduit for communication lines, pulling weeds around the wells that threaten the structures' integrity, and reinforcing surrounding fencing.
  • Educating Next-Gen Leaders: Devon hosted a field tour with BLM leaders for the WCC students. The tour educated students about permitting requirements and processes necessary to operate on federal lands. Topics discussed included working with the federal government on public lands, how permits for drilling activities are obtained and other energy topics. Students also toured a drilling rig to learn about the area’s different geologic formations, how oil and gas are produced and safety protocol.

"Participating in events that educate and improve our communities is a top priority for Devon," said Kevin McAulay, production superintendent at Devon Energy’s Gillette field office. "We look forward to the next opportunity to partner with the BLM and the WCC for additional volunteer activities to support our local environment and wildlife."

"Devon and the BLM have repeatedly proven to be ideal partners for various volunteer and educational initiatives over the years. As a Serve Wyoming and AmeriCorps program, we appreciate how these relationships have enriched the lives and education of our students," said Brittany Thompson, WCC project coordinator.

The WCC, Devon and BLM field offices throughout Wyoming have partnered on community initiatives for more than five years, including an initiative to clean up the Weston Hill Recreation Area earlier this year.

Phil Cook, vice president of Devon’s Rockies business unit said, "Devon employees live here and work here, and they also want to give back to their communities. This project fits in with our personal values, and it also supports Devon’s core values of ‘Always do the right thing’ and ‘Be a good neighbor'."

Cook and his sons Zac, 17, and an Eagle Scout, and Bennett, 14, and working on his Eagle Scout qualifications, also joined volunteer activities during the week.

About Devon Energy

Devon Energy is a leading independent energy company engaged in the exploration, development and production of natural gas and oil. The company's operations are focused onshore in the United States and Canada. In Wyoming, Devon has approximately 160 employees and operates primarily in four areas:  The Powder River Basin, Wind River Basin, Big Horn Basin and Washakie Basin. One of the state's largest producers, Devon is committed to strong citizenship by investing in emergency response services, youth and education, the environment and civic causes. For more information, visit .

About Wyoming Conservation Corps

Founded in 2006, the Wyoming Conservation Corps (WCC) builds on the long legacy created by the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s and the Youth Conservation Corps of the 1970s. The WCC continues this legacy by carrying out the highest caliber of service for Wyoming’s public lands. The organization is part of the University of Wyoming and strives to instill the value of education into their students by providing class credits and extended learning opportunities throughout the program year. Participation in the WCC program provides members with an opportunity to learn firsthand the complexity involved with current natural resource management decisions in Wyoming.

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.

Buffalo Field Office   1425 Fort Street      Buffalo, WY 82834  

Last updated: 08-23-2012