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U.S. Forest Service employee honored for mule deer conservation

By ThisIsReno

SUBMITTED NEWS RELEASE

SPARKS — Maureen Easton, a Wildlife Biologist on the Carson Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, was one of two employees recently recognized for her collaborative work with the Mule Deer Foundation and numerous other partners toward the conservation of mule deer on February 13, 2010, in Salt Lake City.  The Mule Deer Foundation hosts an annual convention as part of the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo, and has previously awarded seven such honors. The other employee was Kathleen Johnson, a Wildlife Biologist on the Forest’s Ely Ranger District.

With the loss of critical mule deer winter range from wildfires, urban development, and other disturbances, Maureen’s ongoing efforts to maintain the existing population has been outstanding,” said Rene Mabe, Acting Carson District Ranger.  Easton said that she was both honored and surprised to receive this award, and will continue to work to improve habitat for mule deer along the Carson Front.

The Jack’s Valley Wildlife Management Area (WMA) project provides an example of how Easton has worked with other specialists to design projects to reduce fuels and potentially improve wildlife habitat conditions.  This 3,000-acre area is located just south of Carson City.

“We removed and mowed brush on about 400 acres to encourage re-sprouting of overgrown and crowded bitterbrush and sagebrush,” said Easton.  Native grasses were seeded following the brush treatments to reduce potential cheatgrass invasion.

Over the last few years, several burned areas have been replanted that are considered critical winter habitat for mule deer, including Robb Fire (3,000 acres on Peavine Mountain in Reno); Voltaire Canyon and Highway 50 Fires (south and west of Carson City); and, Waterfall Fire (around 1,000 acres west of Carson City).

In most of these burned areas, bitterbrush and sagebrush seedlings were planted from the Forest Service’s Lucky Peak Nursery in Idaho.  NDOW and local Mule Deer Foundation volunteers have planted bitterbrush seed throughout much of the Waterfall Fire.  About 100 acres in the Hawken Fire will be re-planted this spring with mountain mahogany seedlings, to replace a burned stand of mahogany.

Learn more about this release by contacting Acting Carson District Ranger Rene Mabe at 775-884-8100, or Public Affairs Officer Christie Kalkowski at 775-355-5311.

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