Students, hunters and wildlife experts dedicated half of their Saturday to clean up local wildlife habitat and hunting blinds in the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area – a territory spanning 9,700 acres in Butte and Glenn counties. Volunteers were treated to a barbecue lunch for their efforts.
Saturday’s clean-up was the third year the wildlife area hosted a volunteer day. During the event, volunteers perform much-needed maintenance on hunting blinds while cleaning up garbage and clearing brush overgrowth. Wildlife staff said volunteer efforts help save the Department of Fish and Wildlife significant costs.
“It was a great turnout,” said Tim Hermansen, supervisor at Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area. “Today, they’re mostly cleaning hunting blinds and putting cover back on mobility impaired blinds. They’re doing a lot of hard work clearing the brush.”
Hermansen said about 40 people volunteered for this year’s clean-up; most were local, but some came as far away as Walnut Creek to participate. Every year, Upper Butte Basin sees more volunteers pitching in.
“It’s fun to get outside and enjoy the outdoors,” said Meghan Fought, a volunteer from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. “You also gain a greater understanding of what it takes to maintain these areas.”
At the beginning of the day, volunteers met at the Upper Butte Basin office in Butte City to get organized before being assigned an area to work. Volunteers were sent to the Howard Slough, Llano Seco and Little Dry Creek portions of the area.
Once on-site, volunteers were asked to clean out hunting blinds – both above and below ground – of any trash or vegetation left inside. They helped re-camouflage the blinds with brush afterwards and cleaned up wildfowl habitat.
“I just want to help and learn about wildfowl,” said Gaba Stauffer, a volunteer from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. “And it’s fun meeting new people.”
Volunteers worked from 7 a.m. until noon. After they finished, the volunteers regrouped at the office, where they were treated to a barbecue lunch donated by the California Wildfowl Association.
“We’re very appreciative of California Wildfowl Association for providing the barbecue,” Hermansen said. “It’s a great way to thank our volunteers for all their hard work.”
Hermansen said the wildlife area plans to host another clean-up day next year.