Intern Noah Schick’s Stewardship Tour Experience

This week was pretty sleepy. We irrigated and did various repairs around the Ranch. A bird had built its nest in the irrigation pipe, so the built up pressure almost blew the pipe apart, but we cleaned it out and took care of it.

We continued repairing fences that had been blown over in the storm a couple weeks back. This ended up being more difficult than we would have liked. First we tried to move them by hand, but they were too heavy. We tried using four wheelers to drag them, but again they were too heavy. Ultimately we ended up using the Backhoe to roll and drag them.

I took one afternoon to put up fence reflectors all along Red Canyon Creek. The fence reflectors are meant to help prevent birds and other animals from running into fences and injuring themselves.

On thursday John Coffman from the nature conservancy, Austin Rempel my fellow intern and myself attended the Environmental Stewardship Tour in Casper Wyoming, where we got to learn about various projects happening at the Garrett Ranch.

This years Leopold Conservation award was given to the Garrett Ranch for Pete Garrett and his family’s voluntary conservation efforts. The Environmental Stewardship Tour gave ranchers from around Wyoming the opportunity to come and learn about these conservation efforts directly from the Garrett Family.

The tour started off with a power point presented by Pete Garrett and members of the Wyoming game and fish department. They discussed two projects. First was an effort to install imitation beaver dams to prevent erosion of stream banks. They airlifted Aspen wood to create the beaver dams. They also used Christmas trees to try to slow the sedimentation of the stream beds.

They also discussed an effort to use pesticides to eradicate cheatgrass in several large fields.

We ate lunch and then piled into school buses for the actual tour. We learned about a variety of efforts to improve the land there and help preserve wildlife diversity. I was personally most interested in the Controlled burns and artificial controlled burns. They burned thousands of acres to rejuvenate the soil by returning plant matter into the soil. They also used a method involving a rodo tiller like tool to chip brush and incorporate it into the soil. They did this in a maze of 30 yard or so sections. This pattern was important because it allowed them to comply with regulations so it would not be considered a disturbance. It also let them catch a lot of snow drift and so it improved water retention.  They also said that this pattern of intermittent grass and brush was helpful to the local deer population.

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