The Natural Resources Conservation Service and other agencies are trying to once again make room for native vegetation along riverbanks in the Bighorn Basin.
Amy Anderson with the Game and Fish Department is helping coordinate the effort. She says Russian olive trees and other non-native plants were introduced in the 1800s, and they’ve choked out native vegetation and degraded soil and water quality.
She says they’ve made progress removing the invasive plants from various creeks, but there’s a lot more work to be done.
“This is going to be a long-term process,” Anderson said. “The Russian Olive and salt cedar didn’t move into this country overnight, and we’re not going to be able to get natives to come back overnight, either.”
She says it could take decades to complete their task.