Monday, December 03, 2007

Volunteer for Sagebrush Country

This past Saturday, Governor Butch Otter (pictured above) and more than 100 volunteers donned warm clothes, braved chilly temperatures, picked up hoops and headed into the sagebrush. The reason? To help the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) collect sagebrush seeds to restore sagebrush habitat in burned areas around southern Idaho. This year, IDFG needs a lot of volunteer effort to collect the seeds, due to the devastating fires that swept through the Owyhees this summer. While fire often has very positive effects on forests, sagebrush is not adapted to frequent fires. These fires can lead to infestations by non-native weeds and a loss of wildlife habitat. This year's fires burned sage grouse display grounds, big game winter range and other important wildlife habitat. Reseeding these areas with sagebrush seeds is critical for wildlife.
This week's collection site was across the road from the Hilltop Cafe, along Highway 21 in the Boise Foothills. This area, coincidentally, was once slated for a housing development. The Nature Conservancy purchased this property--great mule deer and elk winter range--and transferred it to the Bureau of Land Management. The seeds from this project will now help restore sagebrush well beyond the Foothills.

There is still at least one week to help, with sagebrush volunteers needed for this weekend, on Saturday, December 8. There will be seed collecting in both Treasure and Magic valleys. To sign up, phone IDFG at 208-327-7095 (Treasure Valley) and 208-324-4359 (Magic Valley Region). Volunteer, and do your part to help restore sagebrush habitat.


KSeverud said...

I am excited to see all the media coverage of these collection projects. They have been going on for years, but with last summer's fires, it has come to the forefront. I've been out there quite a few times in past years and it is unique opportunity to help out. I encourage anyone who has a chance to get out there - just dress for the weather!

ng2000 said...

Valuable resource of volunteer news summaries: