OWYHEE, Nev. — In early July, Susan Filkins hiked up Table Rock in Boise to check on sagebrush planted there last year in an area burned by wildfire.
Filkins was pleased to see them thriving. The native plant program she helps facilitate on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation — which supplied those sagebrush seedlings for Table Rock — is also growing.
Now the reservation’s greenhouses in Owyhee have another big sale on the books.
Duck Valley sold 50,000 sagebrush seedlings — an entire greenhouse full — to Barrick Gold Corp. in Nevada; they were planted in the spring for mining remediation. In late July, the reservation planned to start growing bunch grasses, Great Basin wild rye and bluebunch wheatgrass.
“We are thinking about growing more forbs,” said Filkins, a Bureau of Land Management natural resource specialist. “We haven’t quite made up the species list for that.”
This spring, Filkins was diagnosed with breast cancer during a routine mammogram and underwent surgery twice.
“We caught it very, very early,” she said. “It made me slow down, and I’m a person who keeps going. It was a little bit hard, but I’m back at it now.”
In May, Kenneth “KW” Pete Jr., who works for the BLM as the Duck Valley greenhouse manager, graduated with his master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Idaho.
The Duck Valley greenhouses currently have about 60,000 sagebrush growing. The program received a grant through The Birds of Prey NCA Partnership to grow 1,000 plants so schoolchildren can plant them in the fall.
Meanwhile, with permission, the BLM reprinted a couple of Times-News photos from a January “Big Story” report on the Duck Valley native plant program. The photos appeared in “Sammy’s Quest To Save the West,” a sagebrush habitat conservation book in the BLM’s Junior Ranger Series.