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Prescribed burns create better habitat for wildlife at Deer Flat

Posted at 4:38 PM, Apr 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-02 18:38:38-04

NAMPA, Idaho — Crews began prescribed burns at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge to clear dense vegetation and invasive species to create a better habitat for wildlife.

  • The first of two prescribed burns happened Tuesday afternoon
  • The second prescribed burn at the Leavitt Tract should happen in the next few weeks
  • Clearing the dense vegetation will create a better environment for wildlife and waterfowl

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

The roar, rumble, and heat from a prescribed burn filled the air at Deer Flat natl refuge on Tuesday. Smoke could be seen for miles.

“We’re burning off the dense cattails, as they die they keep piling up and regrowing with thatch. Burning them off makes it easier for waterfowl to get through here,” said Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge manager Eddie Owens.

Eddie Owens has managed the deer flat area for about 4 years and his vision is for the distant future.

“We're managing this refuge for the next 20 years and what I mean by that is, if we don't see results next year or in two years, it's not a big concern for us. What we're wanting to do is do management actions like this that are going to be beneficial for 20-30 years down the road,” he said.

That’s why Owens is being proactive, coordinating for about a year on these prescribed burns. This area was also once filled with an invasive tree species called Russian Olive, the burn will kill off any saplings that have started to grow. Crews from Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California are working together to make this area a more livable environment for the refuge’s wildlife. With growth in the valley, Owens sees a day when Deer Flat is the last open nature reserve in the area.

“This quite possibly could be one of the last large green spaces for the Treasure Valley folks to come out here and enjoy and connect with nature. It was a great success measured by the fact that we were able to get rid of a lot of the invasive species out here and reduce the density of the cat tail," added Owens.