Summertime, and the Livin' Ain't Easy
The workload for this summer was ambitious. Though the schedule has been hectic, nearly everything has been accomplished according to plan.
Fieldwork and planting were completed by the end of June. The work began with a great boost: a Wilderness Volunteers project organized and led by Western Watersheds Project members Debra Ellers and Dale Grooms.
Shortly after that project, we planted grasses and forbs over almost 100 acres on the southern end of the property. Since then, we have been irrigating in an effort to coax the seed to germination.
Still left to plant is sagebrush seed. The plan is to sow the sagebrush by hand on top of the snow when it arrives in late fall. We hope to put together another volunteer group for this project.
The Shoshone-Bannock tribes put in a streamside incubator on the property and hatched out about 8,000 steelhead eggs. These fish will travel about 900 miles to the ocean, where they will stay for two or three years. Those that survive will return as wild fish to spawn at Greenfire.
There is good news to report about the peregrine falcons at Greenfire. Nesting activities were successful, and two chicks were fledged. The pair nested in a different location this year, on cliffs at the south end of the preserve.
Central Idaho projects are moving along as well. In late July we filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management for its negligence on the Burnt Creek grazing allotment. We have been watching this important bull trout habitat closely since the summer of 2000, and year after year Challis Resource Area personnel have failed to complete their obligations for fence construction and maintenance.
Meanwhile, they continue to deny the resulting degradation and disregard their own Resource Management Plan. Our attempts to work with the agency seldom brings any response. When someone does respond, is it in the form of denial. It's time to call the legal authorities.
The most exciting event at Greenfire this summer was our intern project. In the spring, WWP board secretary-treasurer Gene Bray, with matching funds from generous contributors, acquired a McNeil sediment core sampler. Two students from the University of Idaho, Subit Chandran and Jonathan Suk, spent eight weeks working as interns at Greenfire, using the sampler to quantify imbedded sediment levels in the watersheds of the Challis National Forest.