Another Successful Tribal Stewards Field Season Complete

Gena Goodman-Campbell

voices

Terry Butler, 2018 Volunteer of the Year

Terry Butler, 2018 Volunteer of the Year

“If I have to pick a favorite place in Oregon’s high desert, it would be Sutton Mountain, but I’m excited about all of the Wilderness Study Areas,” says Terry, adding, “Each is a gem to explore, and I hope they all get protection someday… I love the scale of the physical beauty of the desert.”

watch

Sage-grouse Mating Dance

Sage-grouse Mating Dance

fact

Young Desert Horned Lizard

Young Desert Horned Lizard

In the summer these lizards begin foraging for food as soon as their body temperature rises as the heat of the day increases. They feed on slow-moving, ground-dwelling insects. In the fall they hibernate by burying themselves in the sand.

Latin name: Phrysonoma platyrhinos

Week 1: Fencing springs with Malheur National Forest

For their first week in the high desert, the Tribal Stewards worked with staff from the Malheur National Forest fencing sensitive springs to protect them from livestock grazing.

Building fences was a great experience for the crew. Looking back on the summer, crew member Alyssa James said, "that was the only week that went really fast for us because they [the staff from Malheur National Forest] just kept us busy."


Tribal Stewards collecting seed at Denny Jones

Week 2: Sage grouse habitat restoration with Burns Paiute Tribe

Week 2 took the Tribal Stewards to the Burns Paiute Tribe's Denny Jones conservation property to restore upland sagebrush habitat through cutting encroaching juniper and collecting native seed that will be grown out for future upland plantings. As the temperatures increased, the crew faced a difficult, but ultimately rewarding week. According to Alyssa, "Denny Jones Ranch was very challenging. It was really hot and we did a lot of walking. But I kind of liked hiking around and being out all day working, and then coming back knowing that you’ve lived through the day."

Week 3: Beaver dam analogs with Malheur National Forest

After a hot and dry week at Denny Jones Ranch, the crew traveled back up to the headwaters of the John Day River to do work on beaver dam analogues (BDAs) with the Malheur National Forest. The Tribal Stewards enjoyed getting their feet wet (literally!) with this hands-on work repairing BDAs and splashing around in the creek.

Week 4: Fisheries work with Burns Paiute Tribe

The Tribal Stewards backpacked into a wilderness area for their fourth week in the high desert, working with the Burns Paiute Tribe's fisheries department on their brook trout eradication efforts. The crew spent three days camped at High Lake in the Strawberry Mountains Wilderness catching brook trout using fly rods and gill nets. Brook trout are a non-native species, and the Burns Paiute Tribe is aiming to eradicate them from High Lake (the source for Lake Creek, a tributary of the Malheur River) in order to support the recovery of bull trout and other native trout species.

Alyssa's take on this week: "The fisheries work at High Lakes was really fun — except for all of the mosquitoes!"

Week 5: Trail work at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

The Tribal Stewards finished out their high desert time at the John Day Fossil Beds Sheep Rock Unit maintaining trails with the National Park Service. The crew camped at the historic Cant Ranch and enjoyed a celebratory barbeque on their last night, complete with watermelon, ice cream and pie.

It was a well-deserved send-off following all that the 2022 Tribal Stewards learned and accomplished.

Sage Brown   Website

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