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Bill Skelton of Devon constructs a protective cage around a newly-planted seedling.
Click on the image to view a photo gallery of the partnership in action.
BLM and Devon Energy Partner to Improve Recreation Area

By Sarah Beckwith, Public Affairs Specialist, Wind River/Big Horn Basin District

The BLM Worland Field Office, in partnership with Devon Energy, made improvements to a popular recreational area during a workday on Sept. 23. Both BLM and Devon Energy staff planted native riparian trees and grasses, cut Russian olive, and hung birdhouses at Rattlesnake Butte, northwest of Worland, Wyo.

Eve Warren, BLM natural resource specialist and project leader, showed the group how to carefully remove the seedlings from their containers, dip them in a mycorrhizal mix, and place them into holes dug to the perfect depth. "The mycorrhizal mix helps the roots form relationships in the soil which increase nutrients to the plant, increasing its chance of surviving," Warren said. The newly-planted seedlings are topped-off with a sprinkle of sugar to skew the carbon-nitrogen ratio in their favor and a cage is placed around them for protection against nibbling animals.

"Devon has enjoyed the opportunity to work with the BLM on this project," said Bill Skelton of Devon Energy. "It's cool that this is getting restored to a more natural area. It will provide better wildlife habitat and will be a great place for people from Worland to go for a walk." Halfway through the day, famished workers enjoyed a barbecue lunch provided by Devon.

This is not the first time the BLM and Devon have teamed-up in the Rattlesnake Butte area. During a workday last fall, the area was made cleaner and safer for the public as staff removed old pipe, cement and trash. Continued efforts like these will also result in improved habitat for birds, deer, and other wildlife.

The Rattlesnake Butte area was used as an oil field camp by the Pure Oil Company where workers and their families lived between 1948 and 1960. The tract was classified for retention in public ownership in 1961 and Devon Energy currently retains a right-of-way for an existing water well and an access road. The BLM is keeping water in two ponds and plans to make a walking path between them, complete with restored riparian vegetation including native flowers, shrubs, and grasses.

Last updated: 11-25-2009