Landscape Stewardship Certificates of Appreciation - 2016

L to R: Bill LeBarron, PLF Wyoming State Representative; Nikki Lohse, former District Manager, Lake DeSmet Conservation District; Zach Byrum, current District Manager, Lake DeSmet Conservation District; and Janelle Gonzales, BLM Program Manager, Powder River Basin Restoration, High Plains District.

The Public Lands Foundation presents the Johnson County Natural Resource Habitat Restoration Team with its 2016 Landscape Stewardship Certificate of Appreciation and this Citation. The Foundation grants this recognition to honor private citizens and organizations that work to advance and sustain community-based stewardship on landscapes that include, in whole or in part, public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The 28,000-acre Cato wildfire of June 2012 included about 20,000 acres of high priority Greater sage-grouse habitat. Surface ownership included nine private landowners, the State of Wyoming, and the BLM.

Addressing the impacts of the fire was high priority for the landowners. Fences needed to be reconstructed in an expedient manner. A decade worth of noxious weed control was threatened to be lost; and loss of habitat for Greater sage-grouse, mule deer and pronghorn antelope was a concern. The continuation of burning of a coal vein threatened to ignite additional fires.

The Johnson County Natural Resource Habitat Restoration Team was formed to expedite the communication and decision-making process. The Restoration Team included members from the Lake DeSmet Conservation District (LDCD), Johnson County Weed and Pest District (JCW&P), the BLM, Wyoming Game & Fish Department, and the Powder River Conservation District; with the conservation districts representing the private landowners.

Funds from a number of sources helped support about 60-miles of fence replacement, inventories, and herbicide application on about 23,500 acres to treat the pending outbreak of cheatgrass and expansion of leafy spurge.

Addressing the issues of the Cato Fire brought this group together and project implementation and monitoring continue, including improvements of sage-grouse and mule deer habitats, managing recreational opportunities on the public land, addressing archeological values, and livestock management, regardless of surface ownership. Other future potential projects include additional water sources to improve livestock management and reliable water for wildlife in remote locations.

The Public Lands Foundation is pleased to present the Johnson County Natural Resource Habitat Restoration Team with its 2016 Landscape Stewardship Certificate of Appreciation and this Citation for invaluable contributions to the stewardship of America’s public landscapes.

Signed: Edward W. Shepard, President
September 15, 2016