fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

ODFW seed giveaway is Friday

Annual program allows local landowners to create wildlife habitat

Southern Oregon landowners can double up this year on an annual effort to create more wildlife forage on private land while also keeping invasive plant species at bay.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s annual forage seed giveaway begins Friday, and landowners can take home two 15-pound bags of nonnative grass seed meant to create backyard or back-pasture habitat for everything from big-game animals to songbirds.

Each bag has enough seed to cover an acre of habitat. In the past, landowners were relegated to a single bag of seed, but this year 2 acres of seed is better than one.

“I got a good price on seed, so I decided to go with extra to get this seed in the ground,” said Dylan Edwards, ODFW habitat biologist at the Denman Wildlife Area.

The bags will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 7 a.m. Friday at the ODFW office, 1495 E. Gregory Road, in White City.

The giveaway will continue until all 367 bags are meted out — or 6 p.m., whichever comes first, Edwards said.

Any bags that remain will be given away beginning Monday during regular ODFW business hours.

Each bag is enough to turn an acre of land into a veritable wildlife magnet.

The bags contain a mix of oats, clover, orchard grass, rye, fescue and radish mix.

They are all nonnative grasses chosen because they compete well with star thistle and other nonnative weeds. However, the mix is not suitable for healthy habitats such as woodlands and grasslands dominated by native species, which already provide suitable wildlife forage.

The seed is best when planted in the fall so it will sprout with fall rains, Edwards said. It does not require irrigation, and it can reseed itself annually for a few years, he said.

Many landowners in this popular annual program are repeat visitors itching to grow more than an acre of fresh wildlife food, Edwards said.

“A lot of people would like to even have a lot more than two bags, but we like to spread the wealth out,” Edwards said.

The seed cost $1.83 per pound. The total cost this year is $10,000, with half the funding coming from the Rogue Valley Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association. ODFW covers the remaining costs and dissemination.

Last year’s seed cost $3.99 per pound, allowing the program to pass out just 214 bags of seed for a total cost of $12,812.95, Edwards said.

Reach Mail Tribune outdoors writer Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or email him at mfreeman@rosebudmedia.com.