Crew 1 – Office of State Lands, BLM, and Devon Energy, Coyote Gulch, Wyoming Jul 27-August 5 – This crew, which has become our fencing experts, built 3 beautiful and long-lasting enclosing stabilizing the head-cuts to exclude cattle from the wetlands. A few of the crew members even heard some sponsor employees mentioning that the fences we built were far better than the ones they build. As always, our WCC crews tend to impress the people who employ them. In the last few days of the hitch, the crew moved camp and headed to Crook Mountain to take part in a 100 year experiment gauging the effects of riparian habitats that are cut off from grazing to gauge the regrowth of these areas. This meant our crew felling and cutting limber pine trees to then be hauled to create a line of trees in the regrowth areas acting as a method to control specific areas of the experiment as well as provide a lumber fence.
Worth mentioning – Thanks to Ryan Oberhelman calling in a prairie fire near the work site on BLM land, the BLM fire crews were able to put out the fire hours after the dispatch. Turns out, Ryan has worked fire crews before and knows how to read a map. Those experiences combined meant that just a few acres of prairie burned rather than would could have been…Wyoming thanks you Ryan.
Education Day – Seen below in blue shirts, Crew 1 met with Devon Energy at one of their Wyoming facilities to see a PowerPoint and tour the plant. This was no small education day. The Nature Conservancy, uppers from Devon Energy, State Office, and the County Commissioners were all represented to honor the WCC crews. A pretty fantastic networking opportunity if you ask us.
Day off – Having spend their entire hitch in the desolate desert and prairie of central Wyoming, the crew headed off to Lander and Sinks Canyon State Parks to chill out, eat, and see some waterfalls.
Crew 2 – Tronox, BLM, North of Green River near Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, Wyoming July 27-August 5 – Completing nearly 3 miles of difficult fencing through the harsh big empty of central Wyoming, crew 2 should be very proud. Not only did the crew have to repair H-Braces and replace t-posts, but they had to rip out all the old woven wire that was not wildlife friendly and replace it with a smooth bottom wire. One of our crew members, Christian Marr (C-Marr as she is called on her crew) took meticulous and thoughtful wildlife surveys of the riparian areas finding bones and possible flakes from ancient stone tools.
Education Day – This time, the crew rode out with Tom, the manager of the wildlife refuge, to the wetlands and identified species, discussed recent and past human history, and chatted about careers in the federal agencies. All around one of the best Education Days we have had this season. Harper gave the day 5 Stars!
Day Off – This time the crew spread out. Some went to the Wind River Range to the Little Sandy area while others floated the Green River. Some even just relaxed at the fantastic Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge.
Crew 3 – Thunder Basin National Grasslands, Wyoming July 27-August 5 – This crew is in the running for one of the toughest hitches all summer! In Thunder Basin, Crew 3 walked lines along the desert and prairie spraying Delta Dust, a chemical compound that has proven to support prairie dogs live expectancy through the sylvatic plague, an explosive, flea-borne disease that tears through prairie dog colonies. Less prairie dogs mean less ferrets and less ferrets mean less food for the big predators including the Canadian Lynx. Find out more about projects concerning prairie dogs and ferrets at the National Wildlife Health Center website.
Our crew did a great job keeping moral high through the hot sun and monotony of spraying each hole in the big treeless landscape. They played games, cooked great meals, and found jokes in everything. At some point, Simone tells me that Eli tried to catch a prairie dog but was unsuccessful. Everyone on the crew got to see a rattlesnake with no bites and Simone made everyone homemade donuts which turned out to be a great success.
Education Day – Christie Painter, from USFS, came to camp answering questions and concerns the longevity of the work they are doing and how this work has successful results in buffering the populations. She even spent time discussing how one should build a résumé for USAjobs, discussed the work she does, and the contacts she might be able to pass on.
Day Off – The crew journeyed over to Douglas and played in the water slides there, some even tubed the river, got ice cream (of course), had dinner, and slept in the city park. Relaxing.