Field reports: Field reports

HUNTING – Starting this week, youngsters who’ve passed hunter education requirements can apply for permits to join a two-day youth waterfowl hunt this fall at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will restrict the hunters to about eight hunting sites during Washington’s youth waterfowl season, Sept. 29-30.

Two youth hunters under 16 accompanied by one or two non-hunting adults will be allowed at each site. The hunters must have state small game and waterfowl licenses.

Hunters will be selected in a random drawing. Applications will be accepted Wednesday through Aug. 15.

Apply on a U.S. Postal Service postcard. Include the youth’s full name, address and telephone number.

Youths may apply with a youth friend or youth sibling on the same application, but an applicant’s name can be submitted only once.

Mail postcards to Refuge Manager, Turnbull NWR, 26010 S. Smith Rd., Cheney, WA 99004. Drawing results will be posted on the refuge website by the end of August.

The Washington Waterfowl Association will conduct a workshop the week prior to the hunt to help kids select blinds and provide waterfowl identification and hunting tips.

Info: 235-4723; fws.gov/turnbull/.

New offer pays farms to plant field buffers

OUTPLANT – Pheasants and other game birds could benefit from a new program offering to pay farmers for planting 30- to 120-foot buffers around their crop fields.

The Farm Services Agency, working with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, has made 5,000 acres in the Upland Bird Buffer program available to Eastern Washington producers.

The 5,000 acres of field borders for upland birds translates into 343 to 1,365 miles of potentially exceptional habitat buffers, depending on widths.

Funding from FSA for land rental, incentives and cost-share could be up to $3.8 million.

Info: (509) 323-3015, tinyurl.com/birdbuffer.

Group pulls together to combat weeds

CONSERVATION – To make the most of a grant to rehabilitate habitat for caribou and grizzly bears, Conservation Northwest and the Forest Service are recruiting volunteers to pull noxious weeds on a target area in the Colville National Forest.

The effort, boosted by a grant from American Forests, will revegetate decommissioned roads.

The first work project is set for Saturday on a two-mile stretch of obliterated road in the East Fork Le Clerc Creek drainage near Cusick.

Abandoned and overgrown forest roads promote the spread of noxious weeds on public lands. The weeds crowd out nutritious vegetation for native wildlife, said Aaron Theisen of Conservation Northwest.

“Revegetation of decommissioned roads is one of the most effective methods of wildlife habitat restoration and can substantially improve browse for game such as mule deer and elk.”

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