Award May Include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


Washington Department of Corrections inmates were the labor behind a buck and rail fence constructed around a wetland using logs from Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife refuge. (USFWS)

The State of Washington Department of Corrections has nominated a group of government employees, including a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee, for the state’s annual Community Partnership Team Award.

The award, to be presented in May in conjunction with the governor’s, is given to a group of individuals, including employees of the state, who demonstrate continuous quality service and excellence in the workplace.

In this case, a federal Bureau of Reclamation wetland in Grant County near an impending housing development needed fencing in order to protect delicate wildlife habitat. The wetland, north of Moses Lake, is managed by the state of Washington. The fence needed to be palatable to both community members, who would be looking at it, and to the creature inhabitants of the wetland. A barbed wire fence, which can be virtually invisible in a wetland setting, was not feasible because installing it would cause too much soil disturbance. Instead, Bureau of Reclamation employee Mitch Thompson worked with state department of natural resources as well as corrections department to come up with a solution in the form of a old-fashioned buck and rail fence.

Dan Brauner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge arranged for the harvest and donation of 1,200 fourteen-foot rails from small trees that normally would be thinned and burned as part of the refuge’s fuel reduction and habitat enhancement program. The logs were prepared and installed by a crew of state inmates.

Contact: Dan Brauner, 509-684-4207

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