Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area 2008 Annual Report.

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The Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area is a 12,718 acre complex located in Douglas County, Washington. Four distinct management units make up the area: Bridgeport, Chester Butte, Dormaier and Sagebrush Flat. The four Units are located across a wide geographic area within Douglas County. The Units are situated roughly along a north/south line from Bridgeport in the north to the Douglas/Grant county line in the south, 60 miles away. The wildlife area was established to conserve and enhance shrubsteppe habitat for the benefit shrubsteppe obligate and dependent wildlife species. In particular, the Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area is managed to promote the ... continued below

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Peterson, Dan November 3, 2008.

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Description

The Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area is a 12,718 acre complex located in Douglas County, Washington. Four distinct management units make up the area: Bridgeport, Chester Butte, Dormaier and Sagebrush Flat. The four Units are located across a wide geographic area within Douglas County. The Units are situated roughly along a north/south line from Bridgeport in the north to the Douglas/Grant county line in the south, 60 miles away. The wildlife area was established to conserve and enhance shrubsteppe habitat for the benefit shrubsteppe obligate and dependent wildlife species. In particular, the Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area is managed to promote the recovery of three state-listed species: Columbian sharp-tailed grouse (threatened), greater sage grouse (threatened) and the pygmy rabbit (endangered). The US Fish and Wildlife Service also list the pygmy rabbit as endangered. Wildlife area staff seeded 250 acres of old agricultural fields located on the Sagebrush Flat, Dormaier and Chester Butte units. This has been a three project to reestablish high quality shrubsteppe habitat on fields that had either been abandoned (Dormaier) or were dominated by non-native grasses. A mix of 17 native grasses and forbs, most of which were locally collected and grown, was used. First year maintenance included spot spraying Dalmatian toadflax on all sites and mowing annual weeds to reduce competition. Photo points were established and will be integral to long term monitoring and evaluation. Additional monitoring and evaluation will come from existing vegetation transects. This year weed control efforts included spot treatment of noxious weeds, particularly Dalmatian toadflax, in previously restored fields on the Bridgeport Unit (150 acres). Spot treatment also took place within fields scheduled for restoration (40 acres) and in areas where toadflax infestations are small and relatively easily contained. Where toadflax is so widespread that chemical treatment would be impractical, we use the bioagent Mecinus janthinus, available through Professor Gary Piper of Washington State University. This year we released 4,000 M. janthinus on the Bridgeport Unit at 6 separate locations. Since 2002 we have released approximately 14,400 of these insects, 80% of these on the Bridgeport Unit. Additional weed control activities included mowing and spot spraying more than 32 miles of roads, cutting and removal of annual weeds within fenced deer exclosures. We upgraded the solar powered irrigation system that supplies water to a stand of water birch trees planted in 2002. Wildlife area staff designed and built a new solar array and installed a higher capacity pump. The increased capacity will ensure that these trees receive adequate water through the hot summer months and allow us to create at least one additional stand. This project is an important part in our effort to expand the available winter habitat for sharp-tailed grouse on the Bridgeport Unit. Maintenance of fences, parking areas and roads continued during throughout the year. Two parking areas, at Chester Butte and Bridgeport, were graded and additional gravel added. Roads on the Bridgeport Unit were graded and repaired following spring runoff. Trespass and dumping issues have increased in recent years on the Bridgeport Unit. To address these problems we constructed four steel gates at access points on this unit. Each gate is tubular steel attached to 8-inch diameter steel posts, 10 feet long that are cemented into the ground. Two gates allow access to BPA substation facilities and power-line right-of ways so placement, construction and locking issues had to be coordinated with BPA's Real Estate staff in Spokane. Environmental Compliance Documentation issues were addressed again this year. This process has the potential to cause delays the completion of projects within the fiscal year. With this in mind and an eye toward the future, we requested that several projects planned for the coming years be surveyed this year. Beginning in August of 2007, area staff worked with BPA staff to identify work elements that had the potential to disturb cultural resources. Subsequently, in April of 2008, BPA staff archaeologists surveyed numerous sites and several miles of fence line. Final clearance to proceed was granted in August of 2008. This year we submitted and were awarded a grant from the state Recreation and Conservation Office. This grant will provide funding to restore native shrubsteppe habitat on 335 acres of old CRP fields located on the Bridgeport Unit. These fields were planted to non-native grasses in 1988 and currently have marginal habitat values for shrubsteppe obligate and dependent wildlife. Assuming that the state legislature allocates the funds, which, given the state's financial condition is not a sure thing, work on this project can begin late in the summer of 2009.

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3 pages

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  • Report No.: P108873
  • Grant Number: 35070
  • DOI: 10.2172/962481 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 962481
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc935089

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Creation Date

  • November 3, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 1, 2016, 6:26 p.m.

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Peterson, Dan. Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area 2008 Annual Report., report, November 3, 2008; Portland, Oregon. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc935089/: accessed October 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.