Friday, May 07, 2010

Geese in the Long Grass

For wildlife, restoring an area to native plants is like creating a Field of Dreams: "build it, and they will come."

That's certainly been the case at the 45 Ranch, located deep in the Owyhee Canyonlands.

Two years ago, co-owners Charles Conn and Dennis Fitzpatrick worked with The Nature Conservancy and other partners to restore wetlands and native plants to the ranch.

The restoration project allowed the Owyhee river, which flows through the property. to behave more like a wild river--including moving from its channel and periodically flooding.

The owners replaced an irrigated field with native plants like Great Basin wild rye. Already wildlife like sage grouse and bighorn sheep use this area.

Perhaps surprisingly, geese like the long grass, too. It provides perfect cover for nesting. Look closely in the photo above: you can see a nest tucked into the base of the wild rye.

In the years to come, it will be interesting to see what other wildlife nests, hides, feeds, hunts or rests in this restored oasis in the desert

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