Monday, January 04, 2010

Silver Creek: Year in Review

Submitted by Dayna Gross. Photo by Sara Sheehy.

It’s already winter at the Silver Creek Preserve—the sandhill cranes are long gone and the trumpeter swans are making their winter home here. Waterfowl sparkle on the water and a barn owl is taking care of the rodent problem at the visitor center!

These are some just of the wonders The Nature Conservancy hopes to preserve for future generations.

We are grateful to all our partners in conservation, to all of the landowners who have contributed conservation protection agreements, and to everyone who values the natural world and its many wonders. This year has been remarkable—with a new easement adjacent to the preserve, record student numbers, amazing (although unusual) hatches, great fishing, and high water levels.

Some of the accomplishments in 2009 include:

Molyneux easement: Thank you all for your generous contributions to make this happen! We closed on a conservation easement on the Molyneux property, adjacent to the preserve and visitor center!! We are still raising money to pay for this easement, however, so please donate.

Budweiser Conservation Award: John French was one of four finalists for the Budweiser Conservationist of the Year. John and Elaine French have a property under easement along Silver Creek and have contributed time and resources to make sure Silver Creek remains an amazing and productive spring creek. We will know soon whether he won the Budweiser Conservationist of the Year!

Silver Creek enhancement plan: An effort with our neighbors and partners to better plan and fund restoration work throughout the Silver Creek area is underway. Public meetings will be organized in 2010.

Graduate research: Our graduate student from Montana State, Bri Schultz, who is studying spring creeks and what makes them healthy completed her field work this summer. She will be completing (and presenting) her thesis in the spring of 2010, so stay posted.

Fire restoration: The fence and signs that burned in 2008 were replaced and the seeding that was conducted in 2008 paid off-- you can hardly even tell that 20 acres of the preserve burned. We will be focusing on weed control in 2010 to ensure native plants thrive.

Record student and volunteer numbers: More than 1000 students visited the preserve in 2009. We clocked over 1400 volunteer hours with more than 50 volunteers! In addition, visitor numbers were up slightly this year—right around 7200, with 80% of those anglers.

There are already many activities planned for 2010. Check back frequently for the latest news at Silver Creek Preserve!

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