Ranch Tour Highlight From The HAR SER-RM 2022 Conference
Fortress Development Solutions and Guttersen Ranch hosted members of the HAR SER-RM 2022 Conference for a BBQ lunch, ranch tour, and reclamation demonstration. Kate Graves, from our Stewardship, Environmental and Reclamation Division, showed guests around to some of our working sites and initiated great open discussions on industry trends. We toured projects that our reclamation team has been working on over the last year, including cheatgrass control and soil amendment demonstrations, fencing, and irrigation.
Our first location featured initial results of our cheatgrass Rejuvra application project from last fall, in cooperation with Bayer. A helicopter was used to complete aerial spraying on different vegetation diversity and terrain on the Ranch. The application suppressed cheatgrass vegetation which allows for native grass to thrive and a key factor in sustainable grass growth in the future.
NRCS spoke about how Rejuvra is showing to be a great option due to longevity of control without the need for yearly application. Many types of land managers are excited about the product, as cheatgrass pressure is reduced, the native vegetation biomass is increased, it provides more valuable forage and improves grazing patterns for cattle and wildlife.
Buffalo Brand Seed provided information on choosing seed mixes. Many species of cool season grasses are coming up early in the spring and adding to the variety on the ranch. We are excited to see what growth and species we have now to later in the spring. Using diverse native seed mixes helps to continue the long-term sustainability of the land and your projects, as well as planning around timely rain and snow. If irrigation becomes necessary, we’re ready with our water hauling team! Our irrigation trials on the project showed that we were putting out 42 gallons per minute through a reel sprinkler to keep up with watering needs.
We also found with this project, that even though a very sandy soil texture, sub-surface compaction was an issue. Once addressing with specialized tillage equipment, water erosion was reduced, vegetation established, and wind erosion minimized.
Art & Parker Guttersen, our owners, stressed how the partnership between Chevron and the Guttersen Ranch is a great benefit to land management, care for the environment and education to multiple stakeholders. They really take a “leave no trace” approach to each site and want to leave the land a better place after operations.
We visited a plug and abandoned well location that had road base removed, soil imported, then had been cross ripped, disked, drill seeded, and straw mulched. With high wind and erosion potential, the import and native soil are blended to minimize soil blow out. Straw mulch will still move offsite if high winds come through before precipitation, but we can always come back and add more if needed. We exhibited how cattle can be of benefit in the reclamation process as well, through hoof action and cow pies to create microclimates for germinating seed and reduce wind erosion. We hope for rain soon and will begin to see growth from our seeding in the next weeks!
We also visited an area where pipeline was installed last fall and Cedar Creek Associates spoke about the topsoil texture being 90% sand, which is a challenge to work with. To reduce erosion and assist with revegetation, we left as much topsoil as we could in place where excavation was not occurring. The right of way was watered for dust control, fire prevention, and to maintain roots and soil stability. Our methods and planning in the reclamation process bring a revitalization to the land after it’s been disturbed!
We always enjoy hosting guests on the ranch and this conference was no different. Having an open discussion about reclamation practices and high altitude challenges and showing in person demonstrations is what we enjoy most. When you bring together top talent in the field, it always leads to new learning, collaboration, and ideas. We want to thank everyone who came out to the ranch and helped make this year’s event a great one. We’re planning to host another event in June to show off more projects and continue the learning process as we build towards new construction development projects. Be sure to follow us on social media to stay up to date on all Fortress and ranch related events.
Local Truck Wash: LWM Washout
If you’re a truck driver we have great news! The LWM Washout is a local Greeley truck washout that is here to serve the trucking community for all your truck cleaning needs. LWM Washout not only offers truck cleaning, detailing and power washing but also features a drivers lounge for guests to relax in while their truck is being worked on. Many Fortress Development Solutions trucks are cleaned and maintained at LWM Washout and we love the quick and friendly service we receive every time.
Our washout offers many cleaning services to meet the needs of the trucking community. Whether you’re getting ready for a long haul trip or just finishing up a shift, our team is here to get your ride ready for the road.
• Cattle Trailers
• Stock/horse trailers
• Grain/hopper trailers
• Reefer trailers
Inside Truck Wash Bay:
• Hot Soap Presses
• Citric Acid Washes
• Aluminum Brightener Washes
• Hotsy Washes
Washout Amenities for customers:
• Drivers Lounge
• Hot showers
• Soda machine
When you stop by LWM Washout our friendly team will be there waiting to service your trucks. Stop in and get your truck shining and back on the road today!
Employee Spotlight: Josh Anderson
Springtime brings many new projects for our reclamation team. It’s the perfect time to begin those growth projects that may have been put on hold due to the winter freeze. This week we’re excited to highlight one of our team members from our reclamation division. Josh Anderson has been a great asset to the Fortress Development Solutions team and was nominated by Kate Graves.
Josh is an Equipment Operator on our reclamation team. He works on our pad building and road building projects and much more! He’s a huge asset to our team and we’re lucky to have him! Check out his full interview below.
Q: How long have you been in the construction industry?
A: I have been involved in the construction business for a collective of three years.
Q: What made you join the Fortress team?
A: I wanted more experience in yellow iron equipment and at first, I wasn't sure if this would be a long-term job but since I've been here it has been a lot of fun and with Kate, Riley and Luke being involved now it has made it a good learning experience as well.
Q: How has your background led you to our Reclamation team?
A: With growing up on a farm, running equipment comes naturally.
Q: How does teamwork help on your job sites?
A: Teamwork goes a long way here. From getting a job knocked out faster or building up your teammate by giving them time behind the wheel of something so they are able to do it themselves. Also, working between the divisions with sharing equipment and man power with shortages in both.
Q: What obstacles does snow cause during the winter season?
A: From the snow or rain, it causes shutdowns with the chances of getting stuck, slick roads, and frozen ground. With snow on the ground it is difficult to know where your boundaries are on a reclaim site. Knowing that nothing is more important than the safety of our people and the care of our equipment, shutting down for the day is the best option.
Q: What projects have you worked on that you've enjoyed?
A: There have been many projects that have been fun and also challenging. We recently completed a reclaim that was located on the side of a hill, getting the slope right and fill of the site to the landowner’s desire made it interesting.
Q: What motivates you and what do you do for fun outside of work?
A: Having time to take the family to the lake and also teaching my son how to fish and to have patience.
Q: What advice or tips would you give to someone looking to get into the construction industry?
A: My advice to people joining our team or just getting started in any job is to not be afraid to ask questions. Know that everyone started out with zero experience at one time.