Elk NetworkWatch: BOSH Project Improves Wildlife Habitat

General | April 18, 2024

A new video shines a light on a massive landscape-scale habitat stewardship project in southwest Idaho, long supported by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and other partners.

The Bruneau-Owyhee Sage Grouse Habitat or BOSH Project aims to remove select juniper trees across hundreds of thousands of acres to greatly enhance sagebrush habitat for sage-grouse, pronghorn antelope, elk, other wildlife and plant species as well as livestock grazing.

In recent decades, western juniper, historically scattered in nature, escalated to compete with sage-steppe vegetation for water, nutrients, space and sunlight, while also altering the natural wildfire cycle. Wildfire is a primary threat to sage-grouse habitat.

The project involves contract crews cutting down juniper trees, and then cutting the branches on the downed trees so that no branches stand more than four feet above the ground. This reduces potential impacts to sage-grouse by preventing the downed trees from acting as perches for predatory birds. Timing restrictions are used to minimize impacts to sage-grouse and other wildlife species.

The public is also welcome to cut juniper trees within the project area as firewood.

RMEF supplied funding for the BOSH Project dating back to 2019.

(Photo credit: Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission)