Want to stay up to date on important issues in Harris Ranch? Join the HRWMA E-Newsletter mailing list to receive our quarterly newsletter and notices of special concern. CLICK HERE: mailto:info@hrwma.org

   Picture: Idaho Bird Observatory - Black-Capped Chickadee and Mountain Chickadee

END OF SUMMER REMINDER: Local Landscaping Causing Death of Wildlife -
Japanese Yew Bushes are Toxic – Please Remove and Dispose or Cover Securely

Last winter a combination of one hundred elk, deer and antelope died from ingesting Japanese yew plants from residential landscapes. With a heavy winter snowfalls and fires in the foothills, elk, deer and other ungulates are move to lower elevations into residential areas seeking food along the foothills and the  Boise River Green Belt areas.  Japanese yew is extremely toxic to wildlife, pets and humans alike. Animals can die after eating a small number of needles.
Please check your yard for Japanese yew bushes. If you have Japanese yew bushes in your yard’s landscape please consider removal and replacement with non toxic plantings. If you cannot remove the Japanese yew bushes, as fall approaches please fully wrap and completely cover your Japanese yew with heavy burlap .  Please monitor the bushes to be sure that elk and deer have not torn through the burlap during the winter months, when food sources are scarce. 

Local and regional elk, mule deer and antelope deaths
from eating Japanese Yew bushes in recent weeks:

- 8 elk in the Boise Foothills
- 6 mule deer off highland Road, Warms Springs area (reported to HRWMA                this week)
- 1 mule deer in Bown Crossing (reported to HRWMA this week)
- 50 antelope near Payette, Idaho
- 8 elk near Idaho Falls, Idaho, Rimrock area

News Articles:
Burlap Roll - Availability:
- Home Depot –  3639 E Federal Way, Boise
(208) 388-8500 - Call ahead for in-store pick-up – Sku Number 346678
3-Foot x 24-Foot rolls - $10.27/roll (40 rolls currently in stock)

- Home Depot – 1200 Milwaukee Street, Boise
(208) 375-1186 - Call ahead for in-store pick-up – Sku Number 346678
3-Foot x 24-Foot rolls - $10.27/roll (31 rolls currently in stock)
- Thriftway Home Center – Ace True Value - 4705 W. State St., Boise (208) 342-1668
No burlap but 9-foot x 12-foot 10oz canvas painter’s drop clothes available, $27.99/each
- Thriftway Home Center – Ace True Value - 2050 Broadway Ave., Boise (208) 336-7330
No burlap but 9-foot x 12-foot 10oz canvas painter’s drop clothes available, $27.99/each
- Lowes, Boise – No burlap in stock until spring – canvas painter’s drop clothes available
- D & B Supply Store, Garden City – No burlap in stock until spring

Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata) is an evergreen-shrub with soft  green needles. Pictures clockwise from top left:
1) Yew needles can rotate around branch or be flat. 2) New growth is lighter.
3)Yew only have red berries if the plant is female. 4) Male plants have small yellow pollen cones under branches. 5)Needles are darker green top and  paler green underside. 

  Photos by Colleen Fellows
  University of Connecticut

  N e w
 l a y e r
Top of yew needles are darker and underside are lighter.

"Bringing Back the Foothills"
by Glenn Oakley

Learn how the Harris Ranch Wildlife Mitigation Association, Harris Ranch residents and area volunteers are helping to restore native vegetation for wildlife and to reduce fuels in the Boise Foothills. This video documents the conditions before and after the 2016 Table Rock Wildfire.

BITTERBRUSH—A Key Component of Habitat in the Boise Foothills 

Last Summer's Table Rock Wildfire reminds us of the importance of the Foothills as habitat for wildlife species and the susceptibility of these important wildlife areas to human-caused wildfires.  One of the most important wildlife habitat plants in the foothills is bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), a native shrub that was once common across the hills north of Boise. 

It is easily recognized as mature plants can reach heights of 6 to 15 ft tall with a width of 4 to 6 ft.  It produces fragrant, small, bright yellow flowers in the spring. Top sides of the three lobed leaves are bright to olive green and the undersides are whitish colored due to soft white hairs.

Figure 1- Bitterbrush with native sagebrush (light gray ) in lower left potion of the photo.

Bitterbrush packs a lot of nutrition with a high protein content during the winter months. This makes it the “go to” plant for mule deer when snow covers other native food sources. It can be restored after wildfires by planting seeds or more commonly by planting seedlings (one-year old plants grown at a nursery).  Where feasible, it is important to also restore native vegetation associated with bitterbrush in order to improve the habitat for all wildlife species. The loss of wildlife habitat associated with the Table Rock fire will stress wildlife species in the Boise Foothills for years to come and potentially increase mule deer and other wildlife species on roads and in subdivisions near the fire this winter.

You can help restore foothills habitat by collecting bitterbrush seeds this fall or planting bitterbrush seedlings next year for Idaho Fish and Game (https://ec.volunteernow.com/custom/1373/), City of Boise (sarkle@cityofboise.org), and Harris Ranch Wildlife Mitigation Association (info@HRWMA.org).  More information on native and nonnative plants in the Boise Foothills can be found in a field guide available at local BLM offices, D&B Supply on Glenwood, or online at www.healthyhills.org

Mike Pellant, Ecologist and Supervisor for the Ada Soil and Water Conservation District

Boise Fire Update: The popular Homestead Trail - part of the Boise River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) - is once again open for use by foothills recreationists. The trail was closed after the Table Rock wildfire roared through the area, burning more than 2,500 acres, and nearly 1,000 acres of wildlife habitat on the WMA. 


Wildlife and Harris Ranch

Harris Ranch continues to grow and has become a thriving community. It is thriving for humans, and also for wildlife. The lands surrounding Harris Ranch are an important home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Our mission is to preserve this habitat. In the past, wildlife used Harris Ranch as a migration corridor and as their home. These same animals still call the surrounding lands home.

Along with our vibrant wildlife, surrounding lands are also home to a rich variety of flora.  Some plants are unique to these lands and preserving them is vital to the continued survival of wildlife. 

In an effort to ensure the survival of flora and fauna, the HRWMA encourages people to respect this important habitat. When hiking in the Foothills or along the Boise River, stay on designated trails to avoid interaction with wildlife and to protect plants.  Please keep this in mind as you enjoy the Foothills.

Conservation Education Events

    • 06/08/2017
    • 07/29/2018
    • 6 sessions
    • Near Intersection of Highway 21 and Warm Springs Ave.

    Boise River Songbird BandingFree Event, Space Limited, Get Ticket at link Below
    Date: Pick your Date: June 8th, June 18th, June 29th, July 8th, July 22nd, July 29th
    Time: 6:40 am to 11:30 am
    Location: Near Intersection of Highway 21 & Warm Springs Ave
    Join the Intermountain Bird Observatory Crew for a morning of songbird banding at our beautiful Boise River Site near the intersection of Warm Springs Ave. & Highway 21! We'll catch, band & release wild songbirds all forming as par of our standardized breeding season monitoring.
    Please register for FREE tickets on eventbrite & to get more details about this event. You do not need to attend all of the dates.
    Click Here to Get Your Tickets:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/boise-river-songbird-banding-tickets-33228239559

    Location: The Boise River Intermountain Bird Observatory is located near the intersection of Warm Springs Avenue and the Highway 21 bridge, on the north side of the river, starting near the Diversion Dam and continuing over 1 mile downstream. The banding station is located on the south end of the property just upstream of the highway 21 bridge.


    Directions to the banding station:

    Approaching from Warm Springs Ave: From where Warm Springs Ave makes a T with Highway 21, drive straight across highway 21 (heading southwest) onto the gravel access road. Drive down toward the greenbelt (past chain link fenced area and “no access” signs) to reach the parking area. 

    Cars may park in the gravel parking area by the old dam turbine (red star on the map). Walk across the greenbelt and around the gates (there will be a “bird banding today” sign). Follow the access road (orange on the map) down to the banding station (marked in purple). If parking is full, use the overflow parking area off of Warm Springs Ave. marked in green. Walk down the greenbelt to the orange access road.

    • There is Poison Ivy here! Please stay on trails until you have talked to IBO staff about the location of poison ivy patches.
    • There are no restrooms on site. The nearest facilities are a 4 minute drive from the site, at Discovery State Park. We recommend a visit to Discovery before you come to see us :)
    • This site is handicap accessible (vehicle access to banding station). Email us for more information: IBO@boisestate.edu


    • 09/06/2017
    • 11/01/2017
    • 3 sessions
    • Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center

                Birds of Fall & Winter Migration


                    ATTEND ONE  OR ALL SESSIONS! 

     Bird books and binoculars are available to borrow.   

                      No registration necessary. 

            ~September 6, 2017 CLASS: Fall Bird  Migration   

           ~October 4, 2017 CLASS: Winter Bird  Migration  

      ~November 1, 2017 CLASS: Supporting Wintering Backyard Birds

            ~December 6. 2017 CLASS: Idaho Bird Count!

     ~The instructor local ornithologist, Terry provides plentiful information and tips on birds in the Boise area and beyond!  ~

    September 6 ClassCome to learn about the fall migration of birds and the many challenges bird watchers face when trying to identify birds in their non-breeding plumage. Discover what species are going where and which routes they will take to get there  on the migration process. Terry will also share information about conservation issues and what impacts and difficulties birds face while migrating in the travel routes.

            Image result for Idaho winter birds

    October 4 Class: Where do our local species go as winter approaches? Discover winter ranges for Idaho species. Some birds are local migrants and others are long distance migrants. Learn about conservation issues and opportunities in Mexico, Central and South America.

    November 1 Class: Learn  how to strategies for supporting  winter resident birds. November class is the session  where you will get recommendations about the best bird seed and feeder choices for the birds in your backyard. Having difficulty figuring out who is who at the feeder? Terry will offer helpful identification tips to keep you in the know!.

            Image result for Idaho winter birds

    December 6 Class: So how are bird populations doing? This session will provide information about bird population monitoring and population trends. Who collects data? How is data collected? Where is it kept? What does it tell us? How can you contribute? You'll learn about ways to participate in data collection events like the Christmas Bird Count, Big Backyard Bird Count, Breeding Bird Survey and eBird.

    Keep in mind, the series of Foothills Bird Migration Classes compliment the "Bird Feeder Watch" event. An educational winter companion for homeowners belonging to Harris Ranch Wildlife Mitigation Association starting in October and running to April. 

           Image result for Idaho winter birds

    • 09/25/2017
    • 6:00 PM
    • 12/11/2017
    • 8:30 PM
    • MK Nature Center Building: 600 S Walnut St, Boise, ID 83712


                    Fall Lecture Series MK Nature Center Idaho fish, birds & wildlife



                      Image result for birds images Idaho 

      Ready to learn new facts about Idaho's unique v    setting of wildlife? 

     Attend one or all four FALL LECTURE SERIES You're sure to see the beauty of wildlife in a whole another way!


            September 25, 2017: 

       Sockeye Salmon History & Recovery:  

    Regional fish expert Dan Baker explains the natural history and recovery of Sockeye Salmon. Find out what happened to this once abundant species and what is happening now to recover these endangered fish.

    Image result for images of sockeye salmon

             October 19, 2017:

       All about Intermountain Bird Observatory: Image result for images of intermountain bird observatory

    Find out what the observatory does and how they do it with presenter Heidi Ware.


             November 6, 2017

        A Day in the Life of Dr. Drew Wildlife Vet:

    Meet Dr. Mark Drew jand hear about what it's like to be a wildlife veterinarian in Idaho. Learn about his close up and personal experiences with wildlife

     Image result for Dr Mark Drew vet


           December 11, 2017: 

       Beavers in the Desert and Amphibians:  

    Wildlife Biologist Bill Bosworth will tell about the work he does in SW Idaho with beavers in the desert and amphibians. 

                               Image result for beaver images in the desert

    • 09/30/2017
    • 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    • International Bird Observatory Boise River Research Station


      Boise River Song Bird Banding Audubon Society September30,2017

    Event :The local chapter of the Golden Eagle Audubon Society invites you  to watch songbird banding.  You'll arrive, just after the first net run, to see the first batch of birds banded. The nets will be up until 12:40, but the number of birds captured drops as the morning wears on.
    Golden Eagle Audubon Contact: alextakasugi@cableone.net

    Location: Intermountain Bird Observatory Boise River Research Station, Boise River Greenbelt. location is a riverside site across Highway 21 from the end of Warm Springs Avenue. Read more details about event:  https://ibo.boisestate.edu/banding-dates/#lucky

    Please remember: Banding dates are subject to change based on weather conditions.

                   Image result for songbird banding

    ~This project is supported 100% through your donations. We appreciate any contributions you can make!!

    • 09/30/2017
    • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Deer


           National Public Lands Day Deer Flats National Refuge  

             It's your land. Come lend a hand!

    Related imagePhoto Courtesy of USFW

    Celebrate National Public Lands Day by volunteering to improve Deer Flats National Refuge for wildlife and people! 

    On September 30th, come  spend time outside, listen to the birds, and enjoy beautiful Lake Lowell while celebrating National Public Lands Day at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge! We are seeking volunteers to improve the Refuge for wildlife and people by removing noxious weeds and litter, improving the nature trail, and sprucing up the wildlife-friendly landscaping at the Visitor Center.

          ~Volunteers earn a fee-free pass to our Public Lands!~

                          How to participate:

                    This event Requires Pre-Registration.

               To Register contact Susan at 208-467-9278             or deerflat@fws.gov   


         Image result for photographs of Deer Flats National Refuge

                  It's your land. Come lend a hand!

    • 10/01/2017
    • 04/30/2018

    North America's Winter Feeder Watch

    Image result for wintering chickadee


       REGISTER ON-LINE & BE AN EARLY BIRD!! AIM              FOR OCTOBER1st!! http://feederwatch.org/

      ~Start learning  now about the program and sign up early so you do not miss out! Join others across North America and help count the winter birds! Learn from your own backyard just what birds call Boise their winter home.

    Project FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. FeederWatchers periodically count the birds they see at their feeders from November through early April and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. FeederWatch data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.

    Anyone interested in birds can participate! FeederWatch is conducted by people of all skill levels and backgrounds, including children, families, individuals, classrooms, retired persons, youth groups, nature centers, and bird clubs. You can count birds as often as every week, or as infrequently as you like: the schedule is completely flexible. All you need is a bird feeder, bird bath, or plantings that attract birds.

    New participants are sent a Research Kit with complete instructions for participating, as well as a bird identification poster and more. You provide the feeder(s) and seed. Then each fall participants receive our 16-page, year-end report, Winter Bird Highlights. Participants also receive access to the digital version of Living Bird, the Cornell Lab’s award-winning, quarterly magazine.

    Image result for Winter birds in boise idaho feeders

    There is a $18 annual participation fee for U.S. residents ($15 for Cornell Lab members). Canadians can participate by joining Bird Studies Canada for CAN$35. The participation fee covers materials, staff support, web design, data analysis, and the year-end report (Winter Bird Highlights). Project FeederWatch is supported almost entirely by participation fees. Without the support of our participants, this project wouldn’t be possible. ~

    Image result for Winter birds in boise idaho feeders

    • 10/07/2017
    • 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
    • Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center


                        SURVIVAL WORKSHOP: BACKCOUNTRY BASICS Saturday-October 7, 2017 9 AM to 1 PM                                                       


       Image result for backcountry camping basics



    ~If you camp, hike, or explore the backcountry, these seasonal workshops are perfect for you! Instructor Ray Vizgirdas brings over 30 years of experience as a field biologist and naturalist and has authored several books on ecology and ethnobotany. Ray will introduce you to the skills and knowledge needed to survive in Idaho's wilderness.


    ` Class limit to 15 participants:  FEE REQUIRED 

                       For registration: please  call 208-608-7680 

                               Or visit:http://parks.cityofboise.org/ 

    Backcountry Basics 101:

    ~Relying on classroom lecture, slideshow presentation, and demonstrations, we will examine the fundamental knowledge needed to deal with backcountry emergencies. Topics include: priorities and essential skills; calories and the importance of water; short- versus long-term survival; psychological, physiological, and environmental stresses; hypothermia; clothing and emergency shelters; emergency fire starting; basic navigation and signaling for rescue; mountain and high-altitude concerns; what's involved from Search and Rescue perspective; developing a personalized emergency kit; and the top 6 “need to know” useful plants in the area. Demonstrations will include: fire by friction, twisting plant fiber into cordage, net making, and field-expedient stone tools.

    • 10/11/2017
    • 2 sessions
    • Marianne WIlliams Park:3451 E Barber Valley Dr, Boise, ID 83706


                                A beautiful... WetLands Walk with Karl

                               OCTOBER 11, 2017         

        Related image

                        Relax and forget your cares as you stroll along the beautiful     wetlands almost in your own backyard. Expert hydrologist Karl  Gebhardt will weave you through the history of the local waterway, embedding a story to warm your heart with appreciate for this beautiful wetland and all those who call it home.  


                                      4 TO 5 PM AND 5 TO  6PM


                                     Please RSVP: info@hrwma.org

    • 10/11/2017
    • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    • Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center

          SUNSET LECTURE SERIES         

             INVASIVE PLANTS OF THE                        BOISE FOOTHILLS

    Image result for invasive plants in boise foothills

        ~ City restoration Specialist, Martha Brabec, will discuss   the plant problems in the Boise Foothills. The effects of  habitat loss and what the future may hold for Idaho's  Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystem. ~

    Image result for invasive plants in boise foothills


    • 10/14/2017
    • 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
    • Northeast shore of Bose River and Eckert Bridge


                            VOLUNTEER@ Eckert Aquatic Enhancement Project   

                     SATURDAY-OCTOBER 14, 2107   9AM TO 1PM 

      ~Volunteer to help  on the aquatic habitat enhancement project just downstream of Eckert Bridge. All the components survived this year's high water, and we get reports that the fishing is better than ever. There are a few repairs needed along the trailway to restore best passage.

     ~ We are looking for volunteers to help complete the last phase of the project. Volunteers will work together to finish up the project by planting riparian vegetation in the spots that were disturbed by the construction process. Basically, we will plant trees, daffodils, and clean up trash/mesh netting. 

    This will be an all-hands-on-deck volunteer effort led by Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG). Meet local organization working in conjunction with the state agency building up and enhancing habitat.  Our regional expert Joe Kozfkay will be on hand to answer questions and show you what to do.

    What a good opportunity to pay it forward right in your own backyard! There are dry places and wet places to work, but be advised that this project requires gloves as necessary gear. As a courtesy IDFG can provide wader for those that want to wade into and work in the water. Please indicate your need for waders by checking the last box on the volunteer registration form found on the link below. 

    Please RSVP! Here's the link to sign up. Hurry! RSVP Now!



    • 10/14/2017
    • 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
    • Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center


           CREEPY & CRAWLing ...                    CREATURES!

          Image result for granddaddy long leg spider pictures



       ~  No Pre-Registration Required! Please-No Pets! ~

    See Spiders, Earwigs, and Beetles up close... Oh My! Explore some scary but important crawling creatures. 

    Come learn about why we need these creeping & crawling insects in our world, we'll study  pollination to pest control

    While you are here, make some creepy crawly crafts & dress up like your favorite beastly bug! 

    • 10/28/2017
    • 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
    • Deer Flat National Refuge


    Image result for halloween pumpkin clipart



    A free event for kids and kids at heart  Come learn about "creepy" and nocturnal CRITTERS! 


      ~  See live "creepy critters," learn about    wildlife on a spooky hike, earn candy,       make crafts, and howl for coyotes.

        Wear your costume and come rain or        shine!~

      DAY,  DATE & TIME: 

     Saturday, October 28th and runs  from 3 to 6 PM.

                        Image result for Halloween cat

              For more information contact: 

                   deerflat@fws.gov or 

                      call: 208-467-9278 

    • 11/12/2017
    • 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
    • TBD


               Family Birding Day November 12, 2017 9AM to 11AM                                                 



             Image result for Family of birds

     ~Join the Golden Eagle Audubon Society (GEAS) for a short,    introductory bird walk for children, families, and new birders.~

    Learn about the local vicinity and what birds call Boise home. The GEAS can  provide binoculars and bird guides to borrow and enjoy for the duration of the walk.  Typically we meet at an area park and a volunteer leads the group as we walk and look for birds.  We spend time introducing how to use binoculars and look up what species we are seeing in the provided bird guides.  Join Alex Takasugi of the Golden Eagle Audubon Society for a  family birding walk~ 

                           Park Location To Be Announced

          For more information see link below:



    • 11/16/2017
    • 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
    • Jin Hall Foothills Center

        TOUR OF THE RESERVES Boise Hiking Trail Series

    Image result for photos of hulls gulch Boise Idaho

    Get to know your public land in almost your backyard!

     The Foothills Learning Center and Idaho Conservation League team up to offer these short hiking “tours” of City owned foothills reserves. These eleven reserves are a growing and interconnected system that provides environmental, social, health, economic and related benefits. Maybe you are already familiar with the trails, but you don't know the history and plan for these special places. Come find out!  All  hikes  no more than 3 miles, free, and family friendly!

                 Hulls Gulch October 19

    The majority of this reserve was acquired through a citizen initiative from 1991 to 1993, and many acres acquired through  grassroots fundraising efforts. Home to the Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center, this reserve connects many other reserves and public lands. Join ICL and the City of Boise as we take a hike and talk about management solutions on this heavily used reserve!

    Image result for photos of hulls gulch Boise Idaho


     TO REGISTER: Call Lana Weber at (208) 345-6933 Ext.16

          Hollow Reserve November 16

    Revered for its abundance of trails, and views of Boise. The reserve is 317 acres total: Boise City owns 258 acres, and shares acres with the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley (LTTV) owning 59 acres .  Hike on the all-weather trail and hear how LTTV acquired the reserve property. Read more at: http://www.idahostatesman.com/outdoors/playing-outdoors/article73269452.html

    Image result for photographs at hillside to Hollow Reserves Boise Idaho


      TO REGISTER: Call Lana Weber at (208) 345-6933 Ext.16

Harris Ranch Wildlife Mitigation Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit created to implement the Harris Ranch Wildlife Impact Assessment and Management Plan, which prescribes actions to avoid and reduce adverse impacts to wildlife associated with development. 

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  Harris Ranch Wildlife Mitigation Association

   PO Box 1949
   Boise, ID 83701
   (208) 515-7413

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