Omaha District partners with WOZU group to plant native vegetation near Standing Rock bike trails

USACE OMAHA DISTRICT
Published May 30, 2024
A photo from a vegetation planting partnership project.

Volunteers from the WOZU group and staff from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District’s Oahe Project pose for a photo along a bike trail near the Standing Rock Reservation and Cannon Ball, South Dakota May 16, 2024. Staff from the Oahe Project partnered with the WOZU group to plant more than 150 native trees, bushes and shrubbery to promote the ecosystem. (U.S. Army photo by Delanie Stafford)

A photo from a vegetation planting partnership project.

Trevor Laine, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District natural resource specialist from the Oahe Project, helps a youth volunteer from the Standing Rock Reservation plant a tree seedling along bike trails located near the Standing Rock Reservation and Cannon Ball, South Dakota May 16, 2024. Staff from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District’s Oahe Project, partnered with the WOZU group for the event that incorporated more than 150 native plants into the ecosystem. (U.S. Army photo by Delanie Stafford)

A photo from a vegetation planting partnership project.

Joseph Pintal, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, Oahe Project operations project manager, works with a youth volunteer from the Standing Rock Reservation while planting trees along bike trails located near Cannon Ball, South Dakota May 16, 2024. Staff from the Oahe Project partnered with the WOZU group for the event that incorporated more than 150 native plants into the ecosystem. (U.S. Army photo by Delanie Stafford)

A photo from a vegetation planting partnership project.

Trevor Laine, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers natural resource specialist from the Oahe Project, hands tree seedlings to a volunteer from the WOZU group while planting trees along bike trails located near the Standing Rock Reservation and Cannon Ball, South Dakota May 16, 2024. Staff from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District’s Oahe Project partnered with the WOZU group for the event that incorporated more than 150 native plants into the ecosystem. (U.S. Army photo by Delanie Stafford)

A photo from a vegetation planting partnership project.

Youth volunteers from the Standing Rock Reservation take a break from planting tree seedlings along bike trails located near the Standing Rock Reservation and Cannon Ball, South Dakota May 16, 2024. Staff from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District’s Oahe Project, partnered with the WOZU group for the event that incorporated more than 150 native plants into the ecosystem. (U.S. Army photo by Delanie Stafford)

A photo from a vegetation planting partnership project.

A photo of a tree seedling that was planted along bike trails located near the Standing Rock Reservation and Cannon Ball, South Dakota May 16, 2024. Staff from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District’s Oahe Project, partnered with the WOZU group for the event that incorporated more than 150 native plants into the ecosystem. (U.S. Army photo by Delanie Stafford)

A photo from a vegetation planting partnership project.

Trevor Laine, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District natural resource specialist from the Oahe Project, plants a tree seedling along bike trails located near the Standing Rock Reservation and Cannon Ball, South Dakota May 16, 2024. Staff from the Omaha District’s Oahe Project partnered with the WOZU group for the event that incorporated more than 150 native plants into the ecosystem. (U.S. Army photo by Delanie Stafford)

A photo from a vegetation planting partnership project.

A youth from the Standing Rock Reservation rides a bike on a trail located near the Standing Rock Reservation and Cannon Ball, South Dakota May 16, 2024. Staff from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District’s Oahe Project, partnered with the WOZU group to plant more than 150 native trees, bushes and shrubbery to promote the ecosystem. (U.S. Army photo by Delanie Stafford)

OMAHA, Neb. - A team from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District’s Oahe Project traveled to Cannon Ball, North Dakota May 16 to participate in a planting project with the WOZU group that will incorporate native plants into the ecosystem.

The WOZU group was founded in 2021 as a non-profit organization created to develop climate resiliency through increased biodiversity between plants, animals and people. The organization is led by indigenous people and the term Wozu means “to plant” in the Lakota language.

“WOZU wanted to create something for the community and for the outside communities so they can see what’s so special here,” said Dave Archambault, WOZU executive director. “It was just kind of our dream, our vision, to create access to the land. We do a lot of different activities; we generate agriculture, we created a bike trail so people can get access to the land and learn about plants and animals, and we also do a lot of arts and crafts for different people. Our target is our youth, just to give them a different perspective on the world and the beauty that it presents.”

The idea for the project began a year ago when the WOZU group contacted the Oahe Project to inquire about building a small bike trail near the Cannon Ball River. Once it was determined the bike trail could be built, the Oahe Project agreed to support the project by planting native vegetation along sections of the trail that cross federal land. Research was conducted in advance to ensure only native species were selected.

“Initially, we were interested in planting, and they were as well, so we decided to work together and have this tree planting,” said Joseph Pintal, Oahe Project operations project manager. “We’re bringing these native species back to the area - it helps out with your wildlife, your bird habitats, and that sort of thing.”

The day-long project brought together youth and WOZU group volunteers from the Standing Rock Reservation with staff from the Oahe Project. As a result, more than 150 trees, bushes and shrubs were planted to include chokecherry, elderberry, buffaloberry, juneberry, American plum and non-hybrid cottonwood seedlings.

“This is just the beginning stages where we want to try and work with them and get some other native species out here,” said Patrick Feiock, Oahe Project natural resources manager. “They’re really big on promoting the youth and trying to get the youth outdoors and obviously that’s a big thing that we want to partner with.”

The WOZU group plans to expand the trail even further. When it is finished, it will connect the Cannon Ball River to the town of Cannon Ball and the WOZU headquarters with both on-road and off-road trails.

Pintal says they will continue to work with WOZU as the trail develops.

“It’s a great partnership to have with the trail and we hope to continue this in the future and build some positive partnerships,” he said.


News from around USACE

Huntsville Center designs, furnishes Army’s largest Child Development Center
5/30/2024
Furnishing the new facility represents a growth in Huntsville Center’s capabilities and significant investment in the welfare of families stationed in the rugged Alaskan interior...
Huntsville Center begins phase 2 of testing AI security systems at BGAD
5/30/2024
The system is designed to improve the existing security measures by detecting a wide range of threats, including intruders, weapons, fights, fires and even behavioral anomalies...
Special Project Program provides key support to USACE, Huntsville Center
5/30/2024
There is a small program that is designated to accommodate any changes Huntsville Center leadership may require...
Freshwater snail population believed extinct, rediscovered
5/29/2024
Researchers with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) are working with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science to examine the habitat association, distribution levels and...