Prescribed Burns planned at Ocean Lake Ponds to remove cattails

(Lander, Wyo.) - To increase habitat quality for waterfowl and hunting opportunities for sportsmen, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation) will perform a prescribed burn on Ponds 1 and 2 at Ocean Lake Wildlife Habitat Management Area in February or March. The Ocean Lake Wildlife Habitat Management Area (WHMA) is managed primarily for waterfowl production, and the prescribed burn is part of a cattail management plan which will increase the wetland community’s productivity and health. Similar prescribed burns have been performed the past few years. These burns improve waterfowl habitat by removing old vegetation, increasing plant diversity and providing nutrient rich forage for waterfowl and shorebirds. Pond vegetation at Ocean Lake WHMA is composed almost entirely of cattails, and cattail encroachment has reduced open water available for waterfowl nesting and foraging. Following burning, cattail densities will be reduced to approximately 30 percent of current levels which will result in increased open water, vegetative diversity and forage availability. The burn will create smoke visible for miles, including the city of Riverton. Residents should expect temporary smoke in the vicinity of the burn, and some roads within Ocean Lake WHMA may be closed for fire use and public safety. The prescribed burn at Ponds 1 and 2 is anticipated to take one to two days to complete. Dates will be subject to weather conditions. #county10 #news