“Russian olive trees are a noxious weed in Wyoming and displace important native riparian vegetation such as buffaloberry, willow, cottonwood and boxelders. These native species are important for a wide variety of Wyoming’s wildlife and are having a tough time competing with Russian olives,” says Douglas Wildlife Biologist Willow Hibbs.
“While things might be ugly in the short term, after a few years more palatable and digestible plants will grow that will benefit multiple wildlife species,” Hibbs continues. “In the long run, we hope to provide better quality recreational experiences in multiple ways for all Wyomingites who enjoy the outdoors. This should provide great bird watching, mule deer habitat and waterfowl hunting in a few years time.”
“Waterfowl hunters will be impacted the most by this project in both the short and long term,” says Janet Milek, Casper public information specialist. “Upfront there will be reduced cover, but once the native vegetation comes back hunters should be pleasantly surprised by the diversity of hunting opportunities this area will provide.”
Starting in late December 2014 and continuing until March 2015 there will be heavy machinery removing a large number of invasive Russian olive trees along the North Platte River near the Dave Johnston Powerplant.
This project will continue in 2016 and 2017 with native tree and shrub plantings and will be monitored for Russian olive re-growth for many years.
Anyone with questions on the project can contact the Casper Regional office of the Game and Fish at (307) 473-3401.