By CITIZEN STAFF
OXFORD – Federal officials want to make the Oxford Slough Waterfowl Production Area more meaningful for the public, including working to have more water permanently in the marsh.
Such an effort would also include developing the uplands for better upland animal use, said John Braastad, who manages the 1,864 acre site near Oxford for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“It’s been ignored for so long,” he said. A new biologist, Ty Matthews, will also be assisting in development.
“We want to start managing it to become a better area for public use,” Braastad said.
To accomplish that, meetings with local groups will be set up in January and February, including Ducks Unlimited and others, he said.
“It’s going to be working with, trying to get funding from ourselves (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), working with Ducks Unlimited and adjacent landowners,” the manager said.
“We want to see if we can work out some easements with them to see if we can improve the habitat in the whole area,” Braastad said of the landowners.
“There is a very strong following” of people interested in the area, which is the only waterfowl production area in Idaho, he said.
Most of them (areas) are in the Plains region, stretching from Montana to Wisconsin.
“We get calls from local citizens saying they’re concerned that they’ve seen a degrade. There hasn’t been enough waterfowl use or habitat. They have real interest in getting that area back,” Braastad said.
The area has seen a lot of bullrush develop, and with a low water supply, it hasn’t been possible to open the slough up for “really good waterfowl production,” he explained.
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