Wildland Restoration Teams
Wildland Restoration Teams work on a variety of projects all centered on large landscape conservation efforts and promoting healthy watersheds.
Managing invasive weeds is vital to the protection of native plants that wildlife rely on. This could involve hand pulling, applying herbicide, or biological control. Learn more about Montana invasive weeds here!
Planting & Seed Collection
Restoration teams plant trees and shrubs for erosion control and habitat improvement, like rehabilitating a burned area or preventing erosion along stream banks. They also collect native seeds for use in future conservation and restoration projects. The picture above is of the nursery in Glacier National Park, where crews assist with day to day activities including weeding garden beds, picking invasive species around the park, planting native plants and collecting information on white pines.
Mesic restoration involves utilizing low tech process based techniques to restore habitat. Structural-starvation of wood and beaver dams in riverscapes is one of the most common impairments affecting riverscape health. Crews construct BDAs (Beaver Dam Analogs) and PALS (post assisted log structures) . This involves work with local ranchers and conservation districts; we have crews that do this work for their entire season!
GPS & Mapping
Many restoration crews utilize GPS and other techniques to help map invasive plants across the region. This work is vital for federal and state agencies to understand the scope invasive weeds in our area.
Want to learn more about specific Wildland Restoration projects? Check out these projects from previous years to get a sense of the great work that has been accomplished by our crews!
Mesic Restoration with The Nature Conservancy
This Greater Yellowstone crew spent a hitch in South Dakota building Beaver Dam Analogs (BDAs) with The Nature Conservancy. These low-tech, process-based restoration techniques are vital to watershed reparation. In an effort to create safe, welcome environments for beavers (a keystone species), they constructed beaver dam analogs and post-assisted log structures. These structures are meant to slow down the flow of the stream, thereby raising the water table, controlling erosion, and promoting biodiversity. Here is what one of the Crew Members, Ella, had to say about their project:
"We were beavers for the week! On May 31st we made the 8-hour journey to Hot Springs, South Dakota where we were introduced to our project partner with the South Dakota Nature Conservancy. She taught us the basics of low-tech, process-based restoration and the importance of watershed reparation. Over 7 days we waded through waist deep water (only occasionally wearing waders), lugged around an 80 pound hydraulic post pounder, and almost lost a rain boot in the mud all in the name of conservation. And it was so worth it! We were able to see the effects of our BDAs almost immediately and observed evidence of beavers all along the bank. We're hopeful that the biodiversity of Cottonwood and Spring Creek will continue to improve from our mesic restoration efforts."
Thanks to Ella and crew for all the hard work!
Beaver Mimicry in Eastern Montana
This Central Divide crew worked with the National Wildlife Federation to restore riparian habitat around Winifred in Eastern Montana. This involved Putting fence posts in the ground and using willows and other material to create artificial beaver dams. They are not meant to stop the water completely, but rather help slow the water down and increase the water table level and increase drought resilience.
Spraying Invasive Weeds with the Gallatin Valley Land Trust
This Wildland Restoration Team, called Silver Crew, worked closely with the Gallatin Valley Land Trust and the Rocking 406 Ranch to spray a variety of noxious weeds. They spent the majority of their time on thistle and hound's tongue, and covered over five hundred acres of the Rocking 406 Ranch. The ranch is strictly for conservation and is owned by the Gallatin Valley Land Trust. The removal of weeds and restoration of these lands allow for over one hundred species of birds and wild game to reside there, providing much needed wildlife habitat in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Emily, a Crew Member on the Silver crew, said "under the guidance of Mike Ellig, a board member of the Gallatin Valley Land Trust, we learned the ins and outs of fungi and bird species identification. Mike's dedication to conservation inspired us to continue our efforts of wilderness restoration, and we are looking forward to working with the Gallatin Valley Land Trust in the future. We take on the knowledge we learned from Mike with us as we travel to Little Big Horn National Battlefield to spray more noxious weeds!"
Thanks to the silver crew for protecting so much of our vital habitat!