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MEEKER — The range management team on the Douglas Ranger District earned the prestigious 2008 Regional Forester’s award for Forest and Grassland Health.
“Our range team has worked extremely hard this year administering grazing permits during a period of drought, and completed analysis and allotment management plans on 77 grazing allotments,” said Forest Supervisor Mary Peterson.
Members of the range team are: Dave Tubb, Charlie Bradshaw, Kyle Schmitt, Ernie Gipson and Moriah Shadwick. Bradshaw worked in Meeker for the Forest Service for 10 years doing range management. Her husband, Harlan Bradshaw, is originally from Meeker.
During the last five years drought conditions have been severe across most of the Thunder Basin National Grassland, leading to increased monitoring of conditions and sometimes unpopular decisions to make adjustments in grazing schedules. These decisions have been even tougher in the fact that many of the allotments have a large amount of intermingled private lands.
“The Range Team made these decisions in cooperation with the grazing members, grazing associations and term grazing permittees to best protect the forest and grassland resources with the least amount of impact to the rangeland users,” Peterson said.
The control of invasive species also continues to be a concern on the national forest and grasslands. Due to the intermingled land ownership pattern on the Douglas Ranger District, coordination is imperative to success of the management of Invasive species. The range staff developed partnerships with the County Weed and Pest, Grazing Associations and the Thunder Basin Grassland Prairie Ecosystem Association. Through coordination of efforts all of the partners focused work from the top of a watershed to the bottom on all ownerships allowing treatment of invasive species to prevent future infestations. This united approach to the management of invasive species has reaped benefits beyond what traditional Forest Service budgets could accomplish.
“The results of all of these efforts by the Douglas District Range Team has been improved management on the ground, maintained and improved relationships with rangeland users, and improved flexibility in management to meet desired future conditions over the long term,” Peterson said.
The Douglas Ranger District administers more than 700,000 acres of National Forest System Lands on the Thunder Basin National Grassland and the Laramie Peak Division of the Medicine Bow National Forest in eastern Wyoming. Both of these units are characterized by the large amounts of private, state and Bureau of Land Management Lands intermingled within the administrative boundaries totaling an additional affected area of 1.45 million acres bringing the area influenced by Forest Service management to about 2.2 million acres. In FY 2008 the Douglas District Range Team produced major accomplishments in the key emphasis areas of forest and grassland health.