With backing from GlobalGiving donors, Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC) is buying land along outstanding rivers across the western United States. Your gift supports the core costs of purchasing land and placing properties into permanent conservation stewardship. Your contribution is dedicated to such activities as: developing relationships with willing seller landowners; preserving salmon and wildlife habitat; and creating new hiking trails, boating access and recreational opportunities.
Thanks to your contribution, we have recently:
- Purchased a 1,284-acre property along Idaho’s legendary Salmon River.
- Protected 400 acres along Colorado’s Gunnison River from gravel mining and development.
Idaho’s Salmon River:
At a dramatic bend in Idaho’s Salmon River, adjacent to U.S. Bureau of Land Management property and a public recreation site, lies a segment of intact riverfront grassland that has been privately held for years. Too often, the fate of privately owned properties in such stunning natural settings is development-as trophy homes, ranchettes, or hunting or fishing lodges. But this particular piece of wild Idaho will be permanently protected.
Western Rivers Conservancy has purchased 1,284 acres of land adjacent to the BLM’s Pine Bar Recreation Site, west of Grangeville, Idaho, where the lower Salmon River makes a sharp bend. The property wraps around the bend, forming a steep, grassy bowl that bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer use for winter range. The grasslands are thought to shelter two ESA-listed plants-Spalding’s catchfly and MacFarlane’s four o’clock-and to support species the BLM considers sensitive: green-band and broad-fruit mariposa lilies, peregrine and prairie falcons, mountain quail, western toad and more.
Small, high-gradient streams tumble down the bowl to reach nearly two miles of curving riverbank below, which hides rare cultural resources and almost encircles the BLM’s recreation site-an area that is heavily used for boating, fishing, picnicking and camping. Most importantly, the river here provides excellent habitat for some of the Columbia Basin’s most crucial ESA-listed salmonids: sockeye, spring/summer Chinook, fall Chinook, steelhead and bull trout.
The Salmon River has only one small dam (located at its headwaters) and is fed by clear, cold streams that drain more than three million acres of roadless area in central Idaho. With its free-flowing length and wildest of wilderness settings, it is arguably the most important river in the Rockies for salmon conservation.
Completion of this project will bring into public ownership an inholding in one of the West’s most dramatic settings, so that the land can forever be managed for fish and wildlife, conservation-sensitive public recreation, and recovery of imperiled salmonid species.
Colorado’s Gunnison River:
No longer is gravel mining in the cards for a stretch of Colorado’s lower Gunnison River. In June 2012, Western Rivers Conservancy conveyed three miles of river frontage along this iconic desert waterway to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Surrounded entirely by the BLM’s recently created Dominguez- Escalante National Conservation Area (NCA), the 403-acre parcel had been proposed for gravel mining and real estate development.
Instead, the conveyance saved this outstanding natural area from degradation. The lower Gunnison provides critical habitat for four endangered warm-water fish-the Colorado River pikeminnow, razorback sucker, humpback chub and bonytail chub-and supports prized jumbo rainbow and brown trout. The property itself boasts habitat for the threatened Colorado hookless cactus, the northern leopard frog, bald eagle and a variety of other desert flora and fauna. Absorbing these 403 acres into the NCA will both maintain important ecological values and expand public access to back-country trails, red rock canyons and boating and fishing sites on this famous Colorado waterway.
This project follows two earlier WRC acquisitions just downstream, within a BLM recreation management area. Yet the work is not over. WRC continues to partner with the BLM on a long-term conservation strategy for the NCA along the lower Gunnison -to ensure that the river remains a thread of life winding through the desert West.
With the support of GlobalGiving donors, Western Rivers Conservancy is expanding our efforts to protect riverlands for fish, wildlife and people. Please contact David Wilkins at 503-241-0151, ext. 214 (or firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions or for further information. Thank you.Attachments: