Idaho Conservation Success Stories

Browse our Growing Library of Success Stories

Women in Ranching - Savery, Wyoming


This multi-generation family takes care of their livestock and ranch in a way that prioritizes the health of the land. They actively participate in conservation efforts and land stewardship programs, including conservation easements and river bank restoration projects in partnership with Fish and Wildlife. Preserving the integrity of their ranch and managing it responsibly is of utmost importance to them, and they have put considerable effort into estate planning to ensure its continued success.


American Fisheries Association Aquatic Habitat Award


Nikos Monoyios has transformed the Lemhi river in northeastern Idaho to restore salmon spawning habitat. Nikos owns Eagle Valley ranch just south of salmon, Idaho. What Nikos and his wife Valerie have done is truly Olympian, and just proves Margaret Meade’s famous saying that :”Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world…” Nikos is the living embodiment of private land owners being the phalanx for conservation and species restoration.


Restoring the Sagebrush Sea: The Warner Mountains Story


Research from an eight-year study in the Warner Mountains shows why strategically removing encroaching trees spells good news for sage grouse, a declining upland bird that serves as a benchmark for the overall health of the sagebrush biome. Researchers quantified a six-fold increase in sage grouse’s preferred habitat following woodland management and a population growth rate that was +12 percent higher in the treated area than in the control area without management.
This adds to a growing list of research — much of it based on the long-term study in the Warners — that documents the myriad benefits of conifer removal for wildlife and grazing lands. 


Half Circle Cross Ranch


For Colby and McKenzie Pace, raising beef cattle includes keeping a sharp eye on preventing overgrazing and noxious weeds and seeking out ways to improve their land for nesting and migrating shorebirds.  This forward-thinking approach to livestock and wildlife management earned the Coalville couple — and their Half Circle Cross Ranch — the 2020 Utah Leopold Conservation Award.


The Roots of the General Mills Regenerative Agriculture Program


The nonprofit Soil Health Academy (SHA) is just one of many initiatives spawned by regenerative agriculture guru Gabe Brown in collaboration with additional expert partners. SHA holds regenerative agriculture workshops around the country that are open to anyone who’s interested, and they are routinely sold out.


Beaver Dam Analogs catching on in Idaho


Landowners and conservation professionals are excited about a new type of woody structure that mimics beaver dams. The benefits are similar – they store water, slow down runoff in streams, and enhance fish and wildlife habitat. They’re called Beaver Dam Analogs or BDA’s for short.


Sagebrush Landscape Restoration Project: A Boon To Working Lands


The Commission’s two-year grant-funded project to restore wet meadows in southern Idaho benefiting sage grouse and wildlife habitat, due to conclude in June 2020, has already exceeded most of its deliverables. Partners and landowners and are pleased.


Restoring streams post-fire with low-tech structures in Idaho

Conservation professionals turned a negative into a positive in the aftermath of the 65,000-acre Sharps wildfire on Baugh Creek in the Little Wood watershed in Central Idaho.



When Conservation Happens Collaboratively


When Heather Dutton, fresh out of undergraduate school at the Warner College of Natural Resources and graduate school in the College of Agriculture at Colorado State University, began her first job working for a non-profit river restoration organization in the San Luis Valley, she was thrilled. She also felt confident that her technical training in restoration ecology had prepared her for the challenges she’d soon be facing.

Heather was in for a surprise.


McArthur Lake Forest Legacy Easement


Ten years in the making, the objective of the project was to keep “working forests working,” while knitting together checkboard-ownership of private lands with state endowment trust lands to provide open space for moose, elk, deer and bears to travel a between the Cabinet Mountains to the east and the Selkirk Mountains to the west via a narrow valley, known as the “Purcell Trench,” surrounding the McArthur Lake WMA.


Hugh Hammond Bennett: The Story of America’s Private Lands Conservation Movement


This video is the story of a young scientist, Hugh Hammond Bennett, who recognized 80 years ago that the United States was at risk of losing it’s most important resource – its soil. He made it his mission to change the trajectory of agriculture at a time of great crisis and to provide farmers and ranchers with the information and tools they needed to be sustainable.

This 21 minute video is the story of the conservation movement that Hugh Hammond Bennett began and includes interesting insights into the policies and structures that he set up that we continue to rely on today. His work revealed so much of what we’re rediscovering and renaming as “regenerative agriculture.”


Rancher Jay Wilde realizes long-time dream of bringing beaver back to Birch Creek

This is a neat story about dreams coming true. Preston, Idaho rancher Jay Wilde had a dream of restoring beaver to Birch Creek on his cattle ranch near Preston in Southeast Idaho. He tried to restore beaver on his own nickle, but they didn't stay. Jay eventually reached out to Joe Wheaton, a watershed scientist at Utah State University, who helped him solve the puzzle. See how Jay worked with Wheaton and Nick Bouwes from Utah State and Anabranch Solutions to introduce beaver successfully with a science-based plan and low-tech woody structures to create deep-water habitat for beavers.


Kaniksu Land Trust creates Pine Street Woods


Pine Street Woods opened to great fanfare last autumn. Now the Sandpoint community has a new outdoor space for walking, biking, cross country skiing, connecting with nature and learning about sustainable land management.

“We were passionate about this – the idea of having a piece of nature close in, for our entire community to come out and explore, and play, recreate and learn,” said Katie Egland Cox, Executive Director of the Kaniksu Land Trust.


Lemhi Ranchers enhance fish habitat via 25-year harmonious partnership


See how Lemhi ranchers and conservation professionals work together to achieve a number of milestones related to fish and wildlife habitat, water conservation, minimum stream flows, winter fish survival and more through careful advance planning, respect for multiple uses, and a clear focus on conservation and community goals.


Healthy and Fire-Resilient Forests with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation


This video from Washington Policy Center with cooperation from the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, sheds light on how the tribes manage forests to be more healthy using commercial harvests, thinnings, and controlled burns to deal with the pressures of insect infestation, climate change, and decades of fire suppression.


John Nedrow is a big believer in conservation easements – they saved his family farm


Before knowing much about land trusts, Ashton farmer John Nedrow thought they were some kind of sinister force seeking to take over his farm and force landowners off their property.

“Back then, I thought they were the enemy,” Nedrow said in an interview on his alfalfa and malt-barley farm, which straddles the banks of the famed Henrys Fork River, a blue-ribbon trout stream. “I thought they wanted to turn this whole area into national park.”


Craig and Conni French always considered themselves good land stewards

Their introduction to holistic ranch management techniques called into question long-held, traditional ways of thinking. The drastic changes that followed required a leap of faith for the fourth-generation ranchers. They traded harvesting hay for grazing methods that let their cattle harvest the forage themselves. Such changes didn’t happen overnight, and each came with its own risk and learning curve.


Landowner-led campaign protects 94,000 acres of habitat on private lands


Extensive outreach by Pioneers Alliance conservation partners and ground-breaking research on antelope migration patterns, funded by the Lava Lake Institute for Science and Conservation and Wildlife Conservation Society, has led to the protection of approximately 94,000 acres of private ranchland rich with wildlife values particularly for sage grouse and antelope.


Partners Reduce Mud, Improve Water Quality on Camas Prairie Waterways


Over 16 Idaho County ranchers signed up to install BMPs

In the beautiful rolling draws and hills of North Idaho’s Camas Prairie, numerous Idaho County cattle ranchers are stepping up to install a host of best management practices on cattle wintering grounds to get their livestock out of the mud and improve water quality in Red Rock Creek, Cottonwood Creek and the South Fork of the Clearwater River. 


Restoring rangelands in the Danskin Mountains of Idaho


Like many ranchers, Mayfield rancher Jeff Lord watches for opportunities to improve the public range where his cattle graze.

Following the 280,000-acre Pony-Elk Complex wildfires in 2013, Lords partnered with state and federal agencies to assist with range-rehabilitation projects in the Danskin Mountains.