Winnemucca, Nev. – The Winnemucca District (WD), Division of Fire recently completed a hand planting project that spanned over 1,155 acres, including three fire-damaged areas: the Thomas Canyon, Hanson, and Holloway Fires. Crews planted a total of 128,000 one year old, bare-root seedlings across the three post-fire areas as part of an approved Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation (ES&R) project for 2015.
The selections for the hand planting sites took into consideration Greater Sage grouse habitat, areas burned by wildland fires, slope, aspects, elevation, and soils desired by the specific seedling species. According to Derek Messmer, Fuels Program Manager for the Winnemucca District, “Sagebrush and other brush seedlings were planted due to the extended timeframes it takes for native brush species to re-populate a plant community.” The crew completed the project in 10 days by way of hand planting.
Of the total 128,000 seedlings planted, Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) donated 52,000 seedlings. The process started over a year ago when WD ES&R staff started collecting seeds from seed zones within the District and sent those seeds to the USDA Forest Service Lucky Peak Nursery located in Boise, ID. The majority of the seedlings were sowed in May of 2014. The BLM has an interagency agreement with the nursery to grow and store the plants until they are ready for planting.
The Thomas Canyon Fire occurred just outside of town near Water Canyon in 2007. Roughly 21,000 Wyoming sagebrush seedlings were planted over 187 acres in this burned area. The Hanson Fire occurred in 2012 and 33,000 Wyoming sagebrush seedlings were planted within that area. In the Holloway Fire area, which burned in 2012, there were 18,500 Antelope bitterbrush, 36,500 Mountain sagebrush, and 19,000 Wyoming sagebrush planted over three different units. Next year the BLM plans to plant roughly 250,000 seedlings on the Winnemucca District. The areas are still being determined.
For any questions about the hand planting project, please contact Derek Messmer, Fuels Program Manager for the Winnemucca District at 775-623-1500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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