Landscape Stewardship Awards - 2012

Front row: Garie and Karen Henry Middle row: Roger and Bonnie Spackman Back row: Patsy Ann and Vearl Bird; Carol and Richard Hamilton

The Public Lands Foundation presents the Willow Creek Coordinated Resource Management Plan Team (Team) with its 2012 Landscape Stewardship Award 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).

In 1994, the Team was formed through the efforts of neighboring Willow Creek drainage permittees and landowners and the Uinta County Conservation District.  Current Team members include adjoining landowners and permittees, BLM employees, Natural Resource Conservation Service permittees, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Uinta County Conservation District, Uinta County Cattlewomen, Uinta County Extension Office, U.S. Forest Service, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the Wyoming State Forester.

In 1994, the group applied for and received an Environmental Protection Agency 319 grant.  In 1995, the Team and the BLM completed the Project Implementation Plan.  And, the Willow Creek Coordinated Resource Management Plan was completed in 1999.  The short amount of time it took to reach each milestone demonstrates the unflagging commitment of Team members.

Resource projects have resulted in improved habitat for pronghorn, elk, deer and moose and ensuring existing sage grouse leks are stable.  The Willow Creek beaver population has increased and the Colorado River cutthroat trout population is thriving.  Vegetative projects and management activities near riparian areas have also attracted strutting sage grouse.

There are five BLM permittees on five allotments in the Willow Creek drainage.  The long-term benefits of the Willow Creek Coordinated Resource Management Plan include a level of trust between the permittees and the BLM, which allows flexibility of management based on resource conditions.  This relationship has enabled the Team to develop adaptive management techniques which include the ability to respond to weather and market conditions, to use flexibility in grazing schedules to accommodate mid-season vegetation variations and moisture, to increase and establish monitoring data, to change salting patterns to distribute livestock and minimize impacts to an area, to establish a deferred rotation grazing schedule through fencing, to stabilize stocking rates and be flexible to allow for vegetative and economic variations, and to increase funding opportunities.

The Team has been effective in fostering years of community involvement including educational events such as grade school students planting willow cuttings and aspen and conducting water quality tests.  The team has also provided for educational tours and programs.

The Public Lands Foundation is pleased to present The Willow Creek Coordinated Resource Management Plan Team with its 2012 Landscape Stewardship Award and this Citation for invaluable contributions to the stewardship of America’s public landscapes.

Henri Bisson
September 15, 2012