Letters From the West

Jewell announces Idaho youth sage grouse restoration project

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in Boise recently.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in Boise recently.(Idaho Statesman file photo)

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced a joint project with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Thursday to help restore sage grouse habitat in southern Idaho ravished by fire.
The Bureau of Land Management, will conduct habitat restoration throughout the Twin Falls district on areas burned by wildfires in 2011 and 2012 to benefit sage-grouse and other wildlife dependent on sagebrush-steppe habitat including mule deer.

Jewell made the announcement today in Portland as a part of $4.2 million in grants to support conservation employment and mentoring opportunities for more than 600 young people ages 15-25 on public lands.
Encouraging parents and teachers to get children outside is one of Jewell’s initiatives. Jobs is one of President Obama’s. The Twin Falls project is part of his administration’s efforts to develop a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. The funds include $1.27 million from the BLM and the Bureau of Reclamation, which helped leverage $2.65 million from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and $275,000 from Wells Fargo.

“This initiative is a model of how public-private partnerships can both conserve our land and provide opportunities for our young people to obtain jobs skills and broaden their horizons by connecting with the great outdoors,” said Jewell.

Youth volunteers from communities in south-central Idaho will work with BLM and Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists and ecologists to plant shrubs and collect native seeds.

The project funds include $35,000 from BLM and $37,368 non-federal funds.

Rocky Barker is the energy and environment reporter for the Idaho Statesman and has been writing about the West since 1985. He is the author of Scorched Earth How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America and co-producer of the movie Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone, which was inspired by the book and broadcast on A&E Network. He also co-authored the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and the Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho with Ken Retallic. He also was on the Statesman’s team that covered the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news in 2007. The National Wildlife Federation awarded him its Conservation Achievement Award.

Posted in Letters from the West