HELENA, Mont. — On April 20, 2022, two Department of Natural Resources and Conservation airships and ground crew supported the annual Pines for Perch project with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP).
“A lot of years it’s one of the first missions we do for the season. This year we’ve already flown a few fires,” said Wade Hendricks, Area Aviation Officer for the DNRC Central Land Office in Helena. “It’s the first of the year getting out creating or reinforcing crew resource management and working together.”
With an early start to the fire season and dry conditions, Hendricks reminds all Montanans and visitors to the state to be cognizant of activities that may start a wildfire.
The annual mission provides an ideal opportunity for DNRC pilots and ground crews to rehearse the hook-up and vertical lift techniques they will use countless times during the 2022 wildfire season.
The DNRC ships delivered large, weighted strings of recycled Christmas trees collected by FWP to Canyon Ferry Reservoir where fisheries biologists hope to build spawning substrate for yellow perch.
“With this being an older reservoir, there isn’t a lot of habitat left – trees or branches – from when the reservoir was inundated,” said Troy Humphrey, Fisheries Technician for FWP.
This marks the twelfth year the agencies have partnered on the project.