Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fish and Game seeks volunteers

Participants will help plant bitterbrush seedlings to help mule deer


By JASON KAUFFMAN
Express Staff Writer

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking volunteers to help plant bitterbrush on critical mule deer range in the Magic Valley Region this spring.

The project is part of Fish and Game's ongoing mule deer initiative, a statewide effort to improve habitat and boost deer populations.

Where it occurs in big-game winter range, bitterbrush is a preferred food source for mule deer, said Mark Fleming, regional wildlife habitat manager for the Fish and Game.

"Fire has impacted much of our deer habitat. By planting these seedlings we're giving these areas a head start," he said. "Without our intervention, it could take a generation before we see bitterbrush begin to thrive again."

Fish and Game considers volunteers a key component in its efforts to preserve fish and wildlife for future generations, a news release from the agency states.

Each planting effort will be an all-day affair including driving time. Fish and Game advises people to come prepared for any type of weather.

Planting will take place at various sites throughout the Magic Valley region on Saturdays from April 5-19.

"When a person works on the landscape, they've made an investment in that landscape," said Fish and Game volunteer coordinator Ed Papenberg. "We're planting seedlings, but we're also cultivating a community which values its natural resources."

Papenberg said the bitterbrush planting efforts are also fun.

"You get to spend time in beautiful country, and we provide a lunch to boot," he said.

For more information on the planting efforts or to sign up for any one of the outings, contact Papenberg at (208) 324-4359.




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