Posts tagged: farming
WILDLIFE — As mentioned in today's outdoors column about elk management in the Blue Mountains, Washington wildlife managers report good results from a program that signs contracts with farmers and ranchers to improve elk habitat and reduce big-game depredation issues on their lands.
One of the tactics is to plant “lure crops” to attract elk to higher elevation plots so they won't be so tempted to come down and ravage expensive crops such as garbanzo beans.
Remote camera photos such as the one above show elk using these food plots. Here's the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlfie field report that went with this and other photos:
Elk Lure Crops: Conflict Specialist Rasley met with two farmers on Wilson Hollow in Walla Walla County “regarding no elk damage.” Both farmers said, “This is the first time in over 20 years we have not had 60 plus head of elk in our garbs.” They asked what the reasoning was and Rasley showed them both where all 68 head of elk are living now; in our newly planted lure crops some five miles up the road.
Following are some of the top recent regional outdoors stories in The Spokesman-Review:
See 2013 Fishing Guide for a dozen stories on the region's fisheries
Reserve hunting spot on new online site
Earth Day cleanup set at Dishman Hills
Hatchery proposed at Walla Walla
Forest rule changed on project protests
Raise pheasant chicks
Glacier Park distance hiker speaking in Spokane
Fly fishing film festival in Sandpoint
Bamboo rod and walking stick built for Parkinson's effort
Anglers aid in Casting for Recover cancer effort
CONSERVATION – The Spokane chapter of Ducks Unlimited will hold its annual fundraising banquet April 11 at the Lincoln Center. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Bob Zorb of Spokane and St. John, who was unable to travel for the national ceremony in Washington, D.C, will receive DU’s national private lands conservationist of the year award at this Spokane event.
Get tickets online at ducks.org/washington.
PRIVATE LANDS — Hunters have a stake in the Conservation Reserve Program signup scheduled for May 20-June 14. The federal government expects the contracts to be highly competitive. The corresponding boost to wildlife habitat depends on the quality of the bids made by landowners.
Nationwide, 27 million acres are enrolled in CRP. The program is capped at 32 million acres. The signup will also cover acreage included in contracts that are expiring on Sept. 30.
Idaho has 622,570 acres enrolled in CRP, with 68,332 acres set to expire. The state has 2,722 farms enrolled in CRP, receiving more than $31.725 million in annual rental payments at an average of about $51 per acre.
Washington has 1,453,481 acres enrolled in CRP, with more than 253,600 acres set to expire. The state has 5,305 farms receiving more than $83.631 million in annual rental payments, averaging more than $57 per acre.
CRP contracts typically span 10 years and offer payments for growers to manage land for environmental and wildlife benefits rather than planting crops. Growers' contract offers are chosen based on scores derived from plans they offer to make enduring environmental improvements and benefit wildlife habitat, water quality, erosion control, farm soil health and air quality.
Interested landowners already are meeting with specialists from farm and fish and wildlife agencies to help groom their bids for maximum points.
SPORTSMEN'S ACCESS — Washington Fish and Wildlife Department officials say they plan to use a $1 million federal grant and at least $400,000 from big-game hunting application fees to improve recreational access to private lands in Eastern Washington.
WDFW is one of 11 agencies nationwide to qualify for funding fromthe U.S. Department of Agriculture in the second round of the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, established under the 2008 federal Farm Bill.
The public can read details and post comments through Dec. 15 at this website.
“Hunters consistently rank access to suitable hunting areas as one of their top concerns,” said Nate Pamplin, assistant director of the WDFW wildlife program. “With the additional federal funding, we’ll be able to build on current state efforts to expand hunting opportunities for years to come.”
WDFW also received a three-year $1.5 million grant to expand access to hunting and fishing on private lands throughout the state during the first round of the program. The department is currently using that funding to establish contracts with landowners to open their lands to outdoor recreation.
Pamplin said the new $993,231 grant will be used to expand hunting and fishing opportunities in Eastern Washington in several ways:
WILDLIFE – Northwest Alloys land near Addy, Wash., has a hand in feeding elk wintering at the Oak Creek Wildlife Area near Yakima.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Alcoa subsidiary is allowing local farmers to harvest alfalfa from fields adjacent to its curtailed magnesium and silicon plant near Addy so the hay can be donated to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The agreement nets the state about 750 tons of hay a year to feed the elk forced onto the Oak Creek winter range to keep them from damaging private-land crops.