Fuels reduction and wildlife habitat work continues on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest during this winter season. In a collaborative partnership with the Fish and Game, the first winter mastication effort on the Palouse Ranger District is progressing in the Little Boulder project area. Mastication treatments are being conducted across 125 acres to reduce hazardous fuels within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and improve forest health by moving stands towards desired early successional species. These efforts will promote forage for a variety of wildlife species including white-tailed deer, elk, moose, and wild turkeys.
Masticator working grounds in the winter, a first on the Palouse Ranger District.
This project is a great example of how Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) is being used as a tool to increase the pace and scale of restoration activities on the Forest. Both agencies are excited to see the benefits of winter mastication and the potential doors it may open for future vegetation management. Regional wildlife biologist, Tara Ball states, “At first glance, benefits look promising including overall less ground disturbance, a better treatment product due to cutting dormant vegetation (better regeneration of understory), and greater equipment efficiency as the masticator can move around more precisely with less disturbance to the environment, and less chance of overheating in cool weather conditions. We are excited to see the results once the snow melts to see what regeneration takes place.”
Picture depicting winter mastication treatment: Before (background) and After (foreground).
For more information contact:
Regional Wildlife Biologist