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Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission

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Juniper tree removal
re-opens meadow areas for native plants, sage-grouse, wildlife and cattle

Owyhee County, ID

Western juniper trees have been steadily encroaching on meadows and valleys in the greater Owyhee County area over the last 50 years, and in the last 10-15 years, it's been getting even more pronounced. As a result, juniper trees are consuming habitat that normally would be used by the greater sage-grouse, wildlife and cattle.

Aerial surveys show that juniper density has increased 3-5 fold in Owyhee County, compared to historic levels. The absence of fire has accelerated the invasion.

"Something needs to be done," says Owyhee County Commissioner Jerry Hoagland, a member of the Owyhee County Sage-Grouse Working Group. "When we started fighting fire to protect our property, the juniper started to expand, and it's like a wildfire now, the way they're expanding."

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