The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Buffalo Field Office, Wyoming Conservation Corps (WCC) and Devon Energy’s Gillette Field Office recently came together for a 10-day preservation, restoration and education project in the Powder River Basin. From Aug. 4 - 15 the WCC and Devon Energy’s Gillette Field Office spent more than 400 hours working with approximately 50 BLM Buffalo Field Office employees to support fire management and wildlife preservation.
“We are thrilled to continue our 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."
On Aug. 8, Devon Energy executives and Gillette field office team members, BLM employees and the Campbell County Fire Crew focused on fire reduction by thinning pine trees on approximately 35 acres of BLM and private lands, part of a multi-year effort to address this need across a total of 160 acres.
“The Park Wildland Urban Interface Thinning Project was a success thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of Devon, BLM, and Campbell County employees,” said BLM Fire Ecologist Jennifer Walker.
Devon Energy then hosted an educational day on August 12 for WCC students and BLM leaders. Students took a field and drilling rig tour, and learned about safety protocol, the area’s different geologic formations, how oil and gas are produced and how to work with the federal government on public lands.
“Devon employees live and work right here in the Powder River Basin,” said Dale Fritz, business unit vice president of Devon’s Rockies’ operations. “They want to contribute to their communities. This project fits in with our corporate values, and it also supports Devon’s commitment to ‘Always do the right thing’ and ‘Be a good neighbor.’”
The 10-day volunteer effort included:
· Forest Thinning: In the ponderosa pine forests of north central Wyoming, large-stand replacing fires have become a common occurrence. Removing the undergrowth and opening the forest canopy can improve the stands’ resistance to high-severity fire. Devon Energy, WCC and BLM team members cut and piled ponderosa pine and juniper to reduce fuel loads on about 35 acres near ranch homes and rural developments in northern Campbell County.
· Water Monitoring System Upkeep: Water monitoring weirs are used in the Powder River Basin to measure natural stream flow and coal bend natural gas produced water discharge. As coal bed natural gas development matures, the weirs may no longer be necessary. The BLM, WCC, and Devon Energy assisted in removing unnecessary water monitoring weirs from the drainage.
o Educating Next-Gen Leaders: Devon hosted a field tour with BLM leaders for WCC students. The tour educated students about safety protocol, permitting requirements and processes necessary to operate on federal lands. Students also toured a drilling rig and learned about the area’s different geologic formations and how oil and gas are produced.
"Devon Energy and the BLM continue to invest in our members and contribute to their knowledge base of natural resource conservation across Wyoming,” said Brittany Thompson, WCC project coordinator. “Our program would not be possible without the support of these partners and their commitment to providing experiences for generations of Wyoming Conservation Corps leaders and members."
BLM welcomes volunteers from all walks of life: whatever your interest, there's a volunteer opportunity to match. For more information go to http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/resources/volunteers.html.
About the Bureau of Land Management
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 multiple-use mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2012, activities on public lands generated $4.6 billion in revenue, much of which was shared with the States where the activities occurred. In addition, public lands contributed more than $112 billion to the U.S. economy and helped support more than 500,000 jobs.
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 www.devonenergy.com.
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.