By Tess O’Sullivan, Program Manager for Science and Conservation

As a continuation of our habitat restoration efforts, we conducted a major planting effort last week along the Copper Creek Riparian Restoration Corridor at Lava Lake. With the help of a crew from Intermountain Aquatics and plants from North Fork Natives,

Planting along the Copper Creek riparian zone

Plantings along the Copper Creek riparian zone

Buffaloberry Farm, Plants of the Wild, and the Kootenai Salish Tribal Nursery, we planted a huge variety of plants along a little over a 1/2 mile stream corridor and 20 acres adjacent to the stream that will be dedicated to habitat for wildlife. Previously all used for growing alfalfa, these areas were planted with a diverse mix of species that will attract wildlife and will be growing adjacent to the ranch’s certified organic hay fields. With the help of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s brillion seeder, the drier areas were seeded with a mix of grasses and forbs including bluebunch wheatgrass, basin wildrye, silver lupine, desert parsley, sainfoin, and northern sweet vetch. We also planted almost 2,000 bitterbrush and sagebrush bare root seedlings and 300 arrowleaf balsamroot plants. Along the stream corridor, we planted red osier dogwood, golden currant, Wood’s rose, silver buffaloberry, chokecherry, serviceberry and douglas hawthorn. In addition to the shrubs, we planted over 1,000 bare-root sedge and rush plugs.
Baltic rush waiting to be planted

Baltic rush waiting to be planted

We were pleased to already see sprouting from many of the willow cuttings planted last year with the help of the Idaho River Menders. It is very exciting to get all of these great plants in the ground and we are crossing our fingers for good survivorship. Spring rains this week have already helped these plants get established.