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Volunteers help to restore wildlife habitat lost to the 2020 Badger Fire

Volunteers came out in droves on Saturday October 16, 2021 to help biologists from the Minidoka Ranger District and Fish and Game’s Magic Valley Region plant bitterbrush and sagebrush seedlings in the area of the Badger Fire in the South Hills. The Badger Fire burned 90,100 acres in 2020 and impacted a large swath of critical mule deer and sage-grouse winter range.

Volunteer projects are a great way for families to help with rehabilitation projects  

105 volunteers from across Idaho showed up on a warm and sunny Saturday and planted about 14,000 bitterbrush and sagebrush plants.

Sagebrush plant

“We had both individuals and groups come out to volunteer from throughout the Magic Valley as people from all over the state ” said Brandon Tycz, Regional Habitat Biologist with Fish and Game, “it was great to see such a great turnout and people passionate about wildlife and their public lands. The volunteer base we have really helps us accomplish some of the things we need to get done and we are very thankful for everyone’s help.”

Bambi Halcom volunteers to help rehabilitate big game winter range damaged by the Badger Fire

“A project of this scale would not have been possible to do in one day without our great partners” said Scott Soletti, Minidoka Ranger District Wildlife Biologist, “partners that contributed to the project included the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Idaho Fish and Game Mule Deer Initiative and Pheasants Forever. First Lite, an outdoor clothing company based in Ketchum, Idaho graciously donated a gift card for the project as well, which was drawn for one lucky volunteer.

Both the Forest Service and Fish and Game intend to continue to ask for the public’s help on similar projects in the future.  

For more information about future volunteer opportunities, please contact TanaRae Alberti, Fish and Game Volunteer Services Coordinator at 208-324-4359 or Scott Soletti, Minidoka Ranger District Wildlife Biologist at (208) 677-8292 or scott.soletti@usda.gov.