CENTRAL POINT, Ore – ODFW is giving away free wildlife forage seed to Rogue Valley area landowners on Tuesday, October 1. The seed is free to the public because of donations from the Rogue Valley Oregon Hunters Association (RVOHA) matched with federal funds granted to ODFW.
Interested landowners are eligible for a 15-pound bag of seed which can cover one acre of habitat. Seed can be picked up at the Denman Wildlife Area ODFW Office, 1495 E Gregory Road, Central Point. Bags are usually gone before the end of the day, but ODFW will continue to give away seed from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. until everything is distributed.
The forage mix includes a blend of species selected to attract both watchable wildlife and game birds and mammals. The seeds can grow without irrigation and should be planted in the fall so they are ready to sprout with fall rains.
Forbs and grasses are an important part of healthy wildlife habitat. This mix includes non-native grasses and herbaceous species that provide critical food resources for animals during the fall and winter when native forage starts to become less nutritious as it matures and deteriorates.
Species include subterranean clover, timothy grass, plantain, Persian clover and orchard grass. These pasture-adapted species can out-compete other invasive non-native plants such as yellow star-thistle, which provides very little forage value for wildlife. Understory plants are also useful for stabilizing soils and providing ground cover to control dust and reduce erosion.
The mix is not suitable for healthy habitats such as woodlands and grasslands dominated by native species; these areas already provide suitable forage for wildlife.
Forage seed is valued at approximately $3 per pound. This year, RVOHA is donating one ton of seed, enough e to create and enhance 267 acres of wildlife forage habitat.
Productive habitat on private lands is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to ODFW’s mission of protecting and enhancing Oregon’s native wildlife populations.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to foster partnerships and help support landowners who are out there doing important groundwork to improve resources for fish and wildlife,” said wildlife habitat biologist Jade Keehn. “It would be impossible to fulfill ODFW’s mission without this type of cooperative work.”