Idaho Conservation Success Stories

Browse our Growing Library of Success Stories

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

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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.

 

Half Circle Cross Ranch

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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.

 

Kaniksu Land Trust creates Pine Street Woods

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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.

 

McArthur Lake Forest Legacy Easement

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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.

 

Lemhi Ranchers enhance fish habitat via 25-year harmonious partnership

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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

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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

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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.”

 

When Conservation Happens Collaboratively

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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.

 

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

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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

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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 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.

 

Restoring rangelands in the Danskin Mountains of Idaho

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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.

 

Sagebrush Landscape Restoration Project: A Boon To Working Lands

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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.

 

Beaver Dam Analogs catching on in Idaho

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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.

 

Brown’s Ranch in North Dakota: Guided by the “divine”

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Like almost everyone else in his rural community, Gabe had been farming and ranching using conventional methods since purchasing his Brown’s Ranch from the parents of his wife Shelly in 1991. Possibly because he had not grown up on a farm, Gabe found that he was constantly asking the question, “why do we do things this way?”

 

The Roots of the General Mills Regenerative Agriculture Program

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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.

 

Florida Partnership Enables Landscape-Level Prescribed Burn

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On March 2, 2018, a large prescribed burn occurred at the Yellow River Water Management Area in Santa Rosa County, Florida, which is managed by the Northwest Florida Water Management District. Weather and atmospheric conditions were ideal and resources were available for the Florida Forest Service to approve the burn permit. Aerial ignition via helicopter started the fire systematically across the landscape. Ground firing and monitoring crews, consisting of 15 personnel were stationed at the tract perimeter as ground support during the burn.

 

Prescribed Fire Program Reduces Wildfire Severity

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Over four long days in late March 2011, the most severe wildfire outbreak in a decade occurred at Eglin Air Force Base, located near Destin, Florida (Fig. 1). A persistent drought, 20 mph winds and low humidity, combined with 12-15 arson fires on the property, resulted in 6,000 acres burned in a matter of days. Due to Eglin’s aggressive prescribed fire program, the March 2011 wildfire severity and acres burned were significantly reduced. Without this regular fuel reduction, anywhere from 10-12,000 acres could have burned just on the Eglin side, with untold acres burned and property damaged north of Interstate 10.