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Volunteers needed to plant sagebrush in fire-damaged habitat

Fish and Game staff hopes to plant 15,000 sagebrush seedlings in the Antelope Valley area south of Hansen, but they need help from volunteers.

HANSEN, Idaho — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is calling for volunteers to help restore wildlife habitat in the Magic Valley that was badly damaged in a 2020 wildfire.

The Badger Fire scorched thousands of acres south of Twin Falls in an area that is critical both as winter range for big game and habitat for sage grouse. The flames burned so hot they destroyed not only sagebrush plants, but even their seeds underneath the soil.

Fish and Game hopes to plant 15,000 sagebrush seedlings in the Antelope Valley area south of Hansen, but they need help from volunteers.

"The 2012 Cave Canyon Fire impacted a large area of mule deer and sage-grouse habitat and the 2020 Badger Fire affected an even larger area of important habitat and the time is now to start working on restoration," said Brandon Tycz with Idaho Fish and Game. "We are looking to working with the public to continue restoring habitat that mule deer and sage-grouse depend on for forage and cover and maintain these important species on the landscape in the long term. We enjoy working with volunteers that want to come out to restore habitats that have been destroyed by wildfire. Volunteers are definitely a critical partner with these types of projects where families, individuals, church groups or any civic organization to get directly involved in improving their public lands."

Credit: BLM
Crews working the Badger Point Fire (Photo: BLM)

Planting days will be held Saturday, April 9 and Saturday, April 16. 

Anyone who wants to help can meet Fish and Game staff at the intersection of East 2900 North and North 4000 East at 8:30 am on either morning, then drive as a group to the site. Four-wheel drive or a high-clearance vehicle is recommended.

Volunteers should bring their own gloves, water and lunch, but planting equipment and the seedlings will be provided. Anyone interested in participating should call 208-324-4359 to sign up.

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