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Grants awarded to replant land burned in fires

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has awarded a $6,283 grant to pay for forage and grass seed to replant 287 acres of private lands burned in the Deer Ridge and Siskiyou wildfires in Jackson County. The reseeding project is intended to reduce soil erosion, discourage the encroachment of non-native plants, and provide forage for wildlife.

Both fires started on Sept. 21. The Siskiyou fire burned 190 acres of land southwest of Ashland and the Deer Ridge fire burned 633 acres east of Medford.

According to ODFW habitat biologist Vince Oredson, both parcels of private lands burned in the fires provide important winter range for deer as well as habitat for bear, upland birds and a variety of other wildlife species.

Wildfires can destroy wildlife habitat and create conditions for erosion and the invasion of non-native, noxious plants. To help minimize wildfire-caused damage and encourage habitat recovery, the department's Access and Habitat Program provides emergency grants to private landowners for reseeding lands that have been burned.

The Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Forestry and the Jackson County Soil and Water Conservation District also contributed to the reseeding project.

The Access and Habitat Program is funded by a $2 surcharge on hunting licenses. Funds raised by the program are distributed through grants to individual and corporate landowners, conservation organizations and others for wildlife habitat improvement and hunter access projects throughout the state.

For information on the program call coordinator Matt Keenan at (503) 947-6087 or see www.dfw.state.or.us/AH.