IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Three years later, the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area is recovering from the devastating Henry's Creek range fire.
WMA Manager Ryan Walker said there have been favorable growing conditions each year and little trace of the burn remains.
Walker is an Idaho Fish and Game Department habitat biologist. He said the agency has used airplanes to seed 2,000 acres with native grasses and shrubs, like sagebrush. The Bureau of Land Management has seeded an additional 1,100 acres.
"Most grasses will do well on their own and come back quickly, but sagebrush are slow growing and can be hard to establish on the landscape," Walker said.
Sagebrush are most important to the diets of both mule deer and elk, providing small amounts of protein to help animals survive the winter. Over 150,000 sagebrush seedlings have been planted.
Biologists said it can take almost a decade for slow-growing sagebrush to sustain heavy browsing by deer and elk.
"Aspen, chokecherry and snowberries are sending up new shoots everywhere," Walker said. "If the weather continues to cooperate, and we keep receiving moisture at the right times, Tex Creek could soon be in better shape than it was before the fire."
More seedlings are being grown and stored at the Lucky Peak Nursery near Boise for planting at Tex Creek next year.