Inmates Help To Restore Sage Grouse Population - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Inmates Help To Restore Sage Grouse Population

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The Bureau of Land Management is teaming up with the Nevada Department of Corrections to help restore the habitat of the Sage Grouse in the area. The Sage Grouse is a local bird that is declining in numbers and relies on Sage Brush to help them survive. Planting Sage Brush can be a lot of work and labor intensive, but it has its benefits not only for wildlife, but also for the planter. 

"I love being outside, all day," said inmate John Flagg. 

"We were really pleased with the quality that the prisons were able to produce last year for us," said Michael McCampbell from the Bureau of Land Management Winnemucca. 

With the success of last year, they are hoping to do more in 2017. 

"It's a huge benefit for the environment. We have a lot of invasive plant species. Specifically, Cheatgrass that is altering the natural fire cycle in our area," said Shannon Swim, site coordinator for the Institute for Applied Ecology. 

The inmates have been sowing the seeds since Monday and they'll be keeping their eye on them as they grow for the next six to seven months before the Sage Brush gets replanted in the fall. 

So essentially the inmates have about 70,000 plants to take care of. That's double the amount they had last year, which was about 35,000. 

That's just at the Warm Springs location near Carson City. All together they hope to plant around 210,000 plants this year. 

"We're growing in three prisons, we're also growing it in the Northern Nevada Correctional Center, and Lovelock, in addition to Warm Springs," said Swim. 

This year all of the inmates at the Warm Springs location are veterans too. It's a win win situation. 

"Then once they see it from nothing to big, it gives them a sense of pride. Think wow look what I can do," said Flagg. 

According to the BLM they've gotten good results so far too. 

"We've been back to look at a little bit of it this spring, and it's green so that's the important part," said McCampbell. 

Hopefully this new crop of Sage Brush will do even better. 

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