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Zoo Boise's Conservation Fund Kicks Into Action in Wake of Table Rock Fire


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After a fireworks-ignited blaze swept Table Rock and menaced homes in the Harris Ranch subdivision in East Boise, Zoo Boise's conservation fund is set to help restore habitat destroyed in the Boise Foothills fire.

According to city spokesman Mike Journee, the fund will provide $100,000 for restoration efforts, including reseeding the burned landscape, but the process of returning the scorched section of Table Rock to its former glory will be a long process.

"Really we're talking about a multi-year effort here. It's not going to happen overnight," he said.

The bulk of that process will take place in spring 2017, when new seeds and seedlings will be spread in the affected areas in time for seasonal rains to spur their growth.

Previously, money from Zoo Boise's conservation fund has gone toward efforts like Gorongosa Park in Mozambique and saving the saola—"the last unicorn"—in southeast Asia. This will be one of the first times that money has gone toward a local conservation effort.

In all, the Table Rock fire burned approximately 2,500 acres, 164 of which was owned by the city of Boise. According to Journee, city leaders were forming a plan for restoring burnt earth before fire crews had fully extinguished the flames.

"It's really cool that the zoo stepped up, had this idea and said, 'This is what this fund is for,'" Journee said.

Boise voters have twice passed levies to preserve the environment and aesthetic of the Foothills, and though less than 10 percent of the area burned by the Table Rock fire was city-owned, Journee said the city would help other stakeholders to fully restore their property.

"Voters overwhelmingly voted to tax themselves in order to help preserve open space and wildlife and water quality in the foothills and in the Boise Basin. It made a lot of sense to use [conservation fund] money [to restore burned areas]," he said.