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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Twin Falls Plants Over a Million Seedlings!

Story by Heather Tiel-Nelson, Public Affairs Specialist. Photos by Lynnette Pettingill, Rangeland Technician.
They did it! In 2015, Twin Falls District fuels crews and partners managed to plant well over a million sagebrush seedlings on 50,000 acres of sage-grouse habitat management areas within BLM Idaho's Burley, Jarbidge, and Shoshone Field Offices.
Sagebrush seedlings grown in a greenhouse and ready to be planted.
Sagebrush seedlings grown in a greenhouse and ready to be planted.
This tremendous landscape-level effort goes a long way to implementing tenets of the DOI Secretary's strategy to protect and restore sagebrush lands. It was through the use of Healthy Lands Initiative contracts that this work was accomplished. Additionally, the BLM's partnership with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game managed to push the number of seedlings planted last fall at the end of the contracts from 974,450 to 1,006,410. At the height of the project work there were 50-100 contract personnel planting sagebrush seedlings, working on saw projects (lop and scatter juniper), or conducting juniper mastication at any given time.
Contract crews prepare for a day of planting sagebrush seedlings.
Contract crews prepare for a day of planting sagebrush seedlings.
"This is a huge feat; it's hard to imagine a million seedlings being planted, and as we can attest – it is a lot!" said Brandon Brown, Twin Falls District Supervisory Fire Management Specialist. "There were 1,600 boxes of seedlings from Lucky Peak Nursery as well as 54 pallets of boxes full of seedlings from another contractor. We could not have done this without the help of several people – particularly our Fuels Use Specialists Lynnette Pettingill and Justin Miller who worked weeks of long days beginning at 4 a.m.!" said Brown.
Crews plant sagebrush in Idaho's Twin Falls District. In 2015, over a million seedlings were planted on 50,000 acres of sage-grouse habitat management areas within the Burley, Jarbidge and Shoshone Field Offices.
Crews plant sagebrush in Idaho's Twin Falls District. In 2015, over a million seedlings were planted on 50,000 acres of sage-grouse habitat management areas within the Burley, Jarbidge and Shoshone Field Offices.
The excellent partnership work with the Mule Deer Foundation, Pheasants Forever and Idaho Department of Fish and Game will carry into 2016 to achieve the seedling planting goals. 
For more information, contact Brandon Brown at 208-732-7218.