| Land Trust News
Members of the Student Conservation Council fish with local Big Wood River guide
Seven students from the Student Conservation Council (SCC) fish with local Wood River guide, Scott Schnebly, from Lost River Outfitters at Heagle Park on Sunday, Sept 8th. The SCC joined Scott, Susanne and Cody for casting techniques, insect identification and local water hydrology discussions as part of learning about the WRLT's projects and history. Muddy water from the recent fires prevented actual fishing. Next fishing trip there will hopefully be fish caught and released.
Collaboration a First Step in Creating Healthy, Connected and Accessible Waters
The Wood River Land Trust and Trout Unlimited are collaborating to achieve critical large-scale river and watershed protection goals in the Wood River Valley. The new effort, is called Home Waters Initiative. In an effort to improve and maintain the health of the Big Wood River and its tributaries, the partners will lead an effort to assess the status of the Valley’s river system through a comprehensive analysis and shared research. We are at a critical time for translating scientific knowledge into impact on a strategic and broad scale— creating a healthy watershed for the benefit of our health and well-being and that of plants, fish and wildlife.
The time to act is now. Our rivers and streams are resilient and yet they face constant pressures from acts of nature and man. You need only look at the murky color of the Big Wood River since the recent mudslides as a result of the Beaver Creek Fire to see the enormous amount of silt being carried downstream over a number of miles. These occurrences will have long-term effects on our fishery, our local economy, and our health. The Wood River Land Trust is currently working on a comprehensive strategy with TU,which bring their national experience to bear on our regional issue.
The vision of the Home Waters Initiative is to create a sustainable waterscape for local communities. Such an outcome would provide ongoing natural benefits to residents and visitors including: clean water; broad biodiversity; productive agriculture and working lands; and recreational opportunities.
For decades these benefits have attracted people to Wood River Valley and enhanced the quality of life in the region. Now,however, we risk losing these benefits due to increasing significant threats to the watershed from the current drought conditions to population growth to the effects of a changing climate. The Home Waters Initiative is a strong example of how preserving the health of the Big Wood River and its tributaries can help both people and nature thrive.
Working Together to Accomplish More
Partnership is the key to achieving the goals of the Home Water Initiative and additional, wide-reaching conservation efforts.Trout Unlimited and Wood River Land Trust are working with conservation partners: The Nature Conservancy, Idaho Conservation League, to facilitate the vision of a healthy connected landscape in the region. These organizations meet regularly and work together for the betterment of our community. With the help of our donors, we hope to leave a lasting legacy of protected lands for future generations to enjoy as we do today.
Bio-control Methods Used to Control Canada Thistle at WRLT's Porcupine Creek Preserve
On July 16th, 2013, WRLT released bio-control insects on the Porcupine Creek Preserve to help control Canada Thistle. The Canada Thistle Stem Weevils insert their larvae into the stem of the thistle, where they develop and bore holes to get out when they are mature. This stresses the plants and eventually will have a noticeable effect on the weed population.
Porcupine Creek is part of a migration corridor for elk and mule deer between higher-elevation Forest Service lands and lower-elevation BLM and private properties. The habitat provides year-round habitat for elk and also supports beaver, black bear, migratory songbirds, moose, Wood River sculpin, and seasonal use by greater sage grouse.
For additional information regarding the Land Trust's bio-control methods, contact Chad Stoesz, Conservation Coordinator at email@example.com. For more information, contact Keri at 788-3947.
Release the Gall Flies! Bio-control Method Used at WRLT's Lake Creek Preserve
Today, WRLT released gall flies at Lake Creek Preserve as a bio-control method to eradicate Canada Thistle. One of two insects known to be effective against this invasive weed, the gall flies attack the primary and lateral stems by laying eggs on the thistle plant when the plants are bolting. the larvae stimulate the plant to form galls, which then direct nutrients away from the plants normal reproductive functions. This bio-control method is not only environmentally friendly, but also cost-effective.
Time to get your Trout Friendly Lawn Signs!
Do you water your lawn between 10pm-6am, spot spray and include native plants in your landscape? Call us about these and other lawn care choices to protect the quality and quantity of our watershed and to certify your lawn as Trout Friendly. Already certified? Call us to get your sign. This is a free, educational-outreach program sponsored by Wood River Land Trust. For more information call 788-3947 or visit http://troutfriendly.woodriverlandtrust.org/
American Bittern Makes a Presence at Pioneers Birding Event
Thank you Friends of the Hailey Greenway!
Wood River Land Trust Partnership Grows Roots
Students Help Restoration Efforts at Hailey Greenway
Helping Wood River Land Trust (WRLT) restore the area known as the Hailey Greenway near Lions Park, Hailey Elementary 4th grade students and Pioneer Montessori 1st through 3rd grade students have taken to planting native species.
On Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 20 Pioneer Montessori students planted native species, including: dogwood; chokecherry; wild rose; currant; elderberry; and cinquefoil. This planting follows on the heels of 66 Hailey Elementary students who also helped restore the former town landfill on Thursday, May 30, 2013.
The students’ efforts are part of a larger collaboration with Wow-Students.org, who believes giving to others differentiates great communities. With a goal to spread generosity across the Wood River Valley, Wow-Students.org gave each Blaine County student $25 to help support a myriad of community benefit organizations. The 4th grade Hailey Elementary and the 1st through 3rd grade Pioneer Montessori classes all chose to help Wood River Land Trust restore the Hailey Greenway.
In preparation for the Hailey Greenway planting project, each class learned about the larger restoration effort by WRLT, which included removing more than 55 dump trucks of debris from the former town landfill; building a boardwalk at the
edge of the Croy Creek Wetlands; creating the Bow Bridge of the Big Wood River; and eradicating non-native, invasive
Each student chose a shrub or tree from a list of native species that grows in the Hailey Greenway. On the day of the planting students are taught how to transfer the plant from the bucket to its new home, as well as how to bury the plant after the transfer. Students then have the opportunity to explore the area and take part in a nature walk lead by WRLT staff, where they learn about wetland invertebrates and other animals living on the preserve.
Each student was allowed to dedicate their shrub or tree to someone special. The occasion is commemorated with a photo of the child with their plant, which is then sent with a note from the Land Trust to the honoree. “The Land Trust hopes the project will bond students with nature and the Hailey Greenway, inspiring them to steward our parks and preserves long into the future,” says Daphne Muehle, Director of Development for WRLT. “As they return to visit their dogwood or wild rose, they will see the positive impact of their generosity and perhaps instill that value in the following generation".
Wood River Land Trust Completes Three-way Land Exchange with BLM
Wood River Land Trust (WRLT) has just completed a three-way land exchange with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and a private landowner that has been ongoing since 2004. Land exchanges can often accomplish multiple conservation and land management goals, and take great effort from all parties involved. The project accomplishes BLM’s trespass and land-tenure adjustment objectives, consolidates land ownership, and enables the land trust to continue to further its mission and land-protection efforts.
The project was initiated by Blue Canyon Corporation, a private party owning lands north of Ketchum. Blue Canyon Corp. purchased property that was previously developed in a way that trespassed on adjacent BLM lands. In order to resolve the trespass issues, the BLM suggested a land exchange involving WRLT. The land trust has been involved in land transfers and exchanges in the past when the project fulfills the land trust’s mission and offers conservation benefits.
The land trust currently owns thirteen separate properties in three different counties. Two properties in particular are surrounded by BLM lands in Blaine County and contain important fish and wildlife habitat. The 320-acre Square Lake Preserve was protected because of its historic sage grouse lek, ephemeral water resources, and pygmy rabbit habitat. The307-acre sheep Bridge Canyon Preserve was protected because of its sage grouse habitat, mule deer and pronghorn migration corridor, and Big Wood River riparian area. Development on either of these properties could have affected significant wildlife habitat and open space. When the land trust acquired both of these properties, we intended to remove development potential and seek leverage opportunities to accomplish greater land conservation goals. Because both properties are in holdings within BLM lands and contain natural resources important to the public, BLM ownership and management is ideal.
In this transaction, twenty acres of BLM land was conveyed to Blue Canyon Corp.; Square Lake and Sheep Bridge Canyon Preserves were conveyed to the BLM; and the land trust’s financial compensation will be used to further its mission to protect and restore other important landscapes. To accomplish the land exchange, the BLM required an environmental analysis that reviewed impacts of the potential exchange to natural and cultural resources under the national Environmental Policy Act. After the environmental analysis was completed and public comments were submitted, the BLM issued a decision to approve the land exchange in October 2012. Over the last several months