In July 2007, the worst range fire in Utah history burned 350,000 acres in Beaver and Millard counties. The fire devoured everything but a 30-acre plot of forage kochia, crested wheatgrass and Russian wildrye that was planted in the late 1980s in an effort to stabilize soil following the 1984 Clearspot fire. This 30-acre plot has been the subject of research for more than 20 years. Now, efforts to stabilize and rehabilitate the 350,000 acres of land have won a national recognition. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar presented a Partners in Conservation Award to the Milford Flat Fire Restoration Project for outstanding efforts to collaborate to achieve natural resource goals.
Over the past two years, a team of private landowners, county commissioners and representatives from every entity in the Utah Partners for Conservation and Development have been stabilizing and rehabilitating the land. Members of that group range from many state agencies overseeing public lands and agriculture to Utah State University, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
From October 2007 to spring 2008, the partners treated burned areas with more than 1.8 million pounds of seed mix, surveyed and treated noxious weed infestations, replaced 74 miles of burned fencing, constructed 78 new miles of fence and developed 315 sediment basins.
"The Partners in Conservation Awards demonstrate that our greatest conservation legacies often emerge when stakeholders, agencies and citizens from a wide range of backgrounds come together to address shared challenges," Salazar said. "The project was extremely successful because of the support and contributions of all the partners involved."
5/15/09 Kochia Research Story