The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has decided to buy almost 1,800 acres near Idaho Falls and Boise to expand wildlife management areas, adding habitat and hunting space.
Commissioners at a recent meeting approved buying a combined 1,552 acres in two parcels about 20 miles east of Idaho Falls, to be added to the Tex Creek Wildlife Area. Sites feature sagebrush, riparian areas, forested slopes and aspen stands. Elk in late fall move through the area en route to winter habitats, and some spend winter there, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said in a news release. Aspens provide fawning habitat for mule deer.
Bonneville Power Administration mitigation funds will cover the $1.96 million purchase price. Fish and Game, through a settlement with BPA, receives money for fish and wildlife impacts associated with the Columbia River power system.
Commissioners also approved buying 232 acres of native grass and shrub land about 10 miles northeast of Boise adjacent to the Boise River Wildlife Management Area. The parcel, which provides year-round habitat for elk and mule deer, connects higher-elevation forest and lower shrub-steppe habitats in the Warm Springs Watershed. IDFG said it is important in maintaining mule deer migration to and from the management area’s winter-range habitats.
The $350,000 purchase in the Boise area will be funded by $287,800 in federal Pittman Robertson Act funds and money derived from the sale of Fish and Game property to the U.S. Forest Service, IDFG said. Hunting and fishing license sales cover $62,200. Pittman Robertson directs excise tax from firearm and ammunition sales to conservation and hunter education.