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UW Conservation Corp Students Work on Noxious Weed Project:
Students surveyed weeds in Weston County Oil Fields

Wyoming Conservation Corps students pose in front of a pump jack in Weston County.

UW Conservation Corp Students pose in front of a conventional oil well.

UW Conservation Corp members Katy Baringer of Lander & Dale Novotny of Grand Island, NE examine a weed held by  botanist Jeff Brasher of the UW Department of Plant Sciences Cooperative Extension Services.

UW Conservation Corp members Katy Baringer of Lander, Dale Novotny of Grand Island, NE, & botanist Jeff Brasher, UW Dept. of Plant Sciences Cooperative Extension Services.
(photo courtesy of Nicole Lebask, Newcastle Newsletter Journal)

On May 29, 2007, the Wyoming Conservation Corps (WCC), Rock Well Petroleum and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Newcastle Field Office teamed up on a weed identification project, on and near oil fields primarily in Weston County.

The WCC conducted a field survey of over 40 miles of interconnecting oil field roadways, associated rights-of-way, 85 oil and gas well pads and associated tank batteries.

The most common types of weeds identified in the survey include: cheatgrass, curlycup gumweed, Canada thistle, Russian thistle, whitetop, musk thistle, field bindweed and blue mustard. Information collected by the WCC will help determine species population trends and optimal control mechanisms. The ultimate goal of the project is to reduce invasive species populations enough that native vegetation can recover and successfully compete against the non-native invaders.

The WCC develops Wyoming young adults’ skills and experiences in natural resource and environmental career fields through public land improvement projects.  Through exposure to Wyoming’s complex landscape, participants gain real world skills and a deeper appreciation for the state’s environmental challenges and riches.

The WCC members camped at the Forest Service administered Beaver Creek Campground in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The overnight temperatures routinely dropped into the lower 30s with several days of constant rain.

BLM provided project oversight and management of the project. Rockwell Petroleum donated Global Positioning Units (GPS) for the students use for mapping.

WCC had two supervisors and eight students who spent 10 days working and camping on public lands. The students mapped and catalogued weeds in the following oil and gas fields: Mush Creek, Skull Creek, Osage, East Fiddler Creek and Finn/Shirley.

“This was a great opportunity for the WCC, BLM and Rockwell to partner and determine the best methods for controlling undesirable non-native plants (noxious weeds) invasion around oil and gas fields,” noted Newcastle Field Manager Viola Hillman.

Last updated: 05-13-2008