DOINews: BLM-California: Sagebrush Planting Supports Greater Sage-Grouse in Burned Area

Last edited 09/05/2019

BLM California's Bishop Field Office recently partnered with the Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society and the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership group to plant sagebrush and bitterbrush seedlings in the footprint of the Indian Fire.

BLM and partners at work helping a burned landscape recover from a fire.
Partners gather under a blue sky to help a burned landscape recover from a wildfire. Photo by Caara Hunter.

The Indian Fire burned more than 12,000 acres in Mono County, California, in August 2012. Much of the burned area was composed of mature sagebrush and bitterbrush habitat and was used by greater sage-grouse and many other species of wildlife. Native rabbitbrush and other plants have returned to the area, but the sage and bitterbrush are more difficult to re-colonize. These new seedlings will become the future seed source for more re-colonization of native shrubs the area.

Clockwise from top left are photos of (1) remnants of the Indian Fire, which burned nearly 12,576 acres in August 2012; (2) California Native Plant Society's Julie Anne Hopkins and other members of the team planting seedlings; (3) a bitterbrush the team caged to keep deer and rabbits from eating the young plant; (4) BLM botanist Martin Oliver demonstrating how to plant shrubs in the open space. Photos by Caara Hunter.

Volunteers, Bishop Field Office staff (including biologists and fire crew members from Engine 3132), and Inyo National Forest Engine 12 participated in the planting, which occurred in October 2014. The group planted approximately 400 seedlings in an approximately 1.5-acre area. The seedlings were grown at a local greenhouse, cooperatively run by the Bishop Field Office, the CNPS Bristlecone Chapter, and the Inyo National Forest. Funding for growing the seedlings came from Emergency Stabilization and Burned Area Rehabilitation funds.

The team gathers for a group shot. Photo by Julie Anne Hopkins.

The BLM's intent with the planting is to create small islands of sagebrush and bitterbrush that will both benefit wildlife and provide a future seed source that will promote re-colonization of shrubs into the adjacent burned area. Recent telemetry work has found that sage-grouse are using the unburned habitat adjacent to the burned area for both nesting and raising their broods.

See more photos on BLM California's Facebook page.

Submitted by: BLM-California

Feb. 3, 2015

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