Elk Network70,000 Shrubs Planted to Restore Idaho Fire Burn Area

General | November 2, 2023

Below is a news release from the Sawtooth National Forest. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supplied funding for the project as part of its commitment to restore landscapes affected by wildfire for the benefit of elk, mule deer and other wildlife.

The Sawtooth National Forest, Minidoka Ranger District and its partners completed planting 70,000 bitterbrush and sagebrush shrubs in burned areas to restore mule deer, elk and sage-grouse habitat on winter ranges on the district.

As part of continued efforts to restore habitat impacted by the 2020 Badger Fire, 70,000 bitterbrush and sagebrush plants were planted in the burn area to reestablish a shrub source for big game species on winter range and restore sagebrush on the landscape for sage-grouse. This planting work was completed in partnership with Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Pheasants Forever.

The restoration of big game winter range and sage-grouse habitat in the Minidoka Ranger District is an ongoing effort that is expected to occur over several years. The district plans to seed bitterbrush and sagebrush in the coming weeks to further establish pockets of desirable shrub species on the landscape.

Since the Badger Fire, the Minidoka Ranger District and partners have planted approximately 200,000 seedlings within the burned area.

“We wouldn’t be able to complete these types of projects without the amazing partnerships we have. Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Pheasants Forever and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation were all critical in helping fund and implement these projects,” said Scott Soletti, Minidoka Ranger District wildlife biologist. “Our long-term goal is to have high quality habitat with robust wildlife populations on public lands in the district and projects like this one help us get there.”

(Photo credit: Sawtooth National Forest)