The Willow Creek Project
by Scott Boettger, Executive Director of the Wood River Land Trust
|The Willow Creek Project is a great example of how multiple agencies, schools districts, community groups and private and public landowners can cooperatively manage land-uses and implement restoration work to improve habitat and water quality at the watershed level. The project includes the Wood River Land Trust taking over the management of a 1996 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation "Bring Beck the Natives" grant. The grant is being used to study, recommend and inplement solutions to water and habitat degradation acting on both private ant public lands within the Willow Creek watershed. Under the coordination of the Wood River Land Trust and the cooperation of both the private efforts of the McNees (landowner) and the Sawtooth National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Camas County Soil Conservation District and various local school districts watershed wide restoration work is taking place.
The McNee property is the focus of the project, located between public lands to the north and private lands to the south. The McNee property contains over 2.5 miles of stream frontage along Willow Creek containing a variety of sensitive flora and fauna including the indigenous Red Band Trout. The McNees have agreed to retain the property in its open and natural state while the Wood River Land Trust assists the landowners in continuing their good management practices. Work has included livestock fencing of sensitive riparian areas to restore the native plant community and improve wintering wildlife habitat in addition to streambank stabilization in an effort to reduce sediment erosion. Additionally, the local school districts have set up water quality monitoring stations to track the progress of restoration practices. The involvement of the schools and their pupils is quintessential to provide the education and appreciation of what constitutes good watershed management and what it means to the general health of the ecosystem.
The Wood River Land Trust is excited to be able to work with such caring people like the McNees and is grateful to be able to be advance the private and public coordination efforts of the Willow Creek project to protect valued open space resources. For further information, please contact Scott Boettger, Executive Director of the Wood River Land Trust at (208) 788-3947.
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