The State Lands Restoration and Enhancement category provides funding to two state agencies to help repair damaged plant and animal habitat. These grants focus on resource preservation and protection of public lands. Projects in this category help bring important natural areas and resources back to their original functions by improving the self sustaining and ecological functionality of sites.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife will use this grant to improve 150 acres of shrub steppe habitat in the Sagebrush Flat Unit of the Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area. The wildlife area is managed to recover three species: the endangered Columbia basin pygmy rabbit and the sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse, both of which are listed as threatened with extinction by the State. The department will remove invasive plants, reseed areas with native vegetation, and do controlled burning. The unit is at increasing risk of high intensity wildlife because of climate forecasts, nearby housing development and agricultural practices, and sagebrush that is mature. Without proactive intervention to diversify the age of the sagebrush and efforts to alter the understory plants, pygmy rabbits face extinction.