Volunteers needed to plant bitterbrush

Idaho Fish and Game is looking for help planting thousands of seedlings during March at a number of locations across southern Idaho.
The planting projects will begin Saturday, March 2, with additional days scheduled for March 9, 16, 23 and 30. Transportation and planting tools will be provided.
For more information about the planting projects or to learn about other volunteer opportunities with Fish and Game, contact volunteer coordinator Michael Young at 327-7095 or email michael.young@idfg.idaho.gov. Volunteer information also is available on the agency’s website at fishandgame.idaho.gov/
0311 local hammer1Volunteers have planted nearly three quarters of a million bitterbrush and sagebrush seedlings during the past 23 years to restore native habitat in Southwest Idaho. In addition to saving the agency hundreds of thousands of dollars, volunteers have restored hundreds of acres of winter range, F&G said.
Bitterbrush and sagebrush, which are native shrubs, are an important component of big game winter ranges in Idaho and throughout the West. Besides providing essential food sources for deer, elk and other wildlife, bitterbrush and sagebrush provide cover from the elements and from predators, while also providing nesting habitat for birds and small mammals, according to biologists.
Big game shelter
Even large animals, such as deer and elk, find shelter among mature stands of bitterbrush and sagebrush during winter storms, said Evin Oneale, regional conservation educator with Fish and Game.
Shrubs provide protection from wind and snow, allowing the animals to conserve precious body fat which they need to survive the lean winter months, he said.
Because of their deep-rooted structure, native shrubs provide for soil stabilization, reducing erosion.

Statesman file photo by Chris Butler

Posted in Into the Outdoors