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Think Green Inc. Restores Habitat at IBO’s Diane Moore Nature Center

During the summer of 2020 we’ve worked hard to search for creative ways to continue our conservation work even as the Coronavirus Pandemic continues to change our plans on a daily basis.

And thanks to local partners, we’ve been able to continue making progress on many of our projects, including our Boise River Habitat Restoration at our Diane Moore Nature Center!

In June, we were lucky enough to team up with local business, Think Green Inc. and their partner business Madeline George Garden Design & Nursery, to plant cottonwood saplings in a key area at our Boise River site. Think Green Inc. owner, David Carlson, and Madeline George owner, Kecia Carlson, are long-time friends of IBO’s, so when Dave reached out with the offer of time, equipment, and materials to get a project done, we were thrilled!

a small tractor scoops soil
Dave from Think Green Inc. contributed soil, skills, and equipment to the project

At the same time, IBO partner Sean Finn from Golden Eagle Audubon’s Native Plant Network got his hands on some substantial 10′ tall cottonwood saplings that needed to get in the ground ASAP. It was the perfect match! The cottonwood saplings were germinated and grown at College of Western Idaho’s Horticulture facility in partnership with Land Trust of the Treasure Valley.  As the coronavirus threat emerged and these institutions wisely responded by shutting down operations, these trees would potentially be left orphaned!  Martha Brabec, Boise Park and Recreations Restoration Specialist sprang to action, rescued these baby trees and doled them out to restoration sites along the river.

With our crew of Boise State and College of Western Idaho Interns, plus equipment, soil, and skills from Think Green Inc., the team made quick work of the project. We now have 20 new Cottonwood saplings at our river site!

a person wears a cloth face mask during the pandemic while kneeling to plant a cottonwood tree
With COVID precautions in place, we continued our habitat restoration work

Although there are many cottonwood trees at IBO’s Diane Moore Nature Center already, these trees add to our habitat restoration project in a few important ways:

a small cottonwood tree tied up with stakes and wrapped in protective chicken wire

Without a flowing side channel, our cottonwood trees don’t get watered like they would have historically. This means we have a number of very old trees, but very few young trees.

Cottonwood seeds need just the right water conditions in order to sprout, and with controlled flows from upstream dams, this doesn’t happen along the Boise River very often. Instead, the small trees we do have growing at the site are mostly offshoots from the roots of older trees nearby: this means that genetic diversity of cottonwoods at our site may be low. By adding new cottonwood saplings that were sprouted from seed, we hope to mix in new genetic diversity that will create a more healthy and long-lasting cottonwood gallery forest at our site!

Thanks again to IBO partners Golden Eagle Audubon and College of Western Idaho, and friends Think Green Inc. and Madeline George Garden Design & Nursery for making this project a success!

a red tractor backs down off of a trailer
Equipment from Think Green Inc. helped make digging in thick gravel an easy task