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Improving local habitat | Preston Citizen

Improving local habitat

November 5, 2013
By

By RODNEY D. BOAM 

Citizen editor

Tom Lucia, former Idaho Fish and Game officer for Franklin County, was out on his four wheeler early one morning recently with a rigged up seed broadcaster trying to reseed some land dedicated for Conservation Resource Program with several different kinds seeds to help the mule deer population.

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The acreage was on the south side of Riverdale, deep in the hills above the Bear River. Along the dirt road leading to the ground the sides of the road were littered with long forgotten farm machinery.

He unloaded his four-wheeler, filled the broadcaster with seed and began sending seeds across the six acres of ground.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved such projects under the continuous CRP State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) initiative in 2008. Since that time hundreds of thousands of acres in Eastern Idaho have been reseeded to help the upland game birds or the mule deer.

“If we reseed this area for mule deer it will also be good for game birds,” Lucia said as he poured the 30 pounds of seed mix into the broadcaster. “The owner of the ground is an avid hunter and he is a supporter of increasing mule deer habitat.”

Tom Lucia, a former Idaho Department of Fish and Game officer, loads a seed mixture in a spreader in the Mink Creek area. The seeds, once germinated, will provide extra habitat for mule deer.

Tom Lucia, a former Idaho Department of Fish and Game officer, loads a seed mixture in a spreader in the Mink Creek area. The seeds, once germinated, will provide extra habitat for mule deer.

Lucia was up days before with his personal tractor tilling the ground in preparation for seeding.

He said the road was too narrow and the area too remote to bring a drill. So he opted for the broadcaster and the four-wheeler.

This remote land, like large tracts of farmland all over Idaho and other states, was set aside for this type of program to help species of animals flourish on land the government pays the farmer to leave fallow.

Much of the land has been overrun with weeds for years and the cover helps cut down on erosion.

Lucia planted many grasses native to Idaho mixed with rice hulls to aid in the seeds being successfully grown.

This story is sponsored by Franklin County Highmarkers.

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