Tuesday, May 31, 2011

High Waters

Around Idaho (and many other parts of the country), it's been a cool, wet spring. That means many streams and rivers are raging torrents right now.

Boundary Creek (pictured above), on the border of Idaho and Canada, looks typical of many streams right: frothing whitewater raging past rocks and boulders.

For most Idahoans, this is a welcome sight. To be sure, there can be flooding in some areas. However, most recognize ample water as essential for Idaho's agriculture, hydropower, outdoor recreation and wildlife. High waters mean wetlands (like Ball Creek Ranch Preserve, above) are full and attracting nesting waterfowl. And a raging creek is much preferred to drought.

That's not the case everywhere. Along the Mississippi, from Missouri to Louisiana, is experiencing record floods this year--causing suffering and intense damage to communities and farms.

What's going on here? And what can we do about it? The Nature Conservancy's Jeff Opperman offers the fundamentals on flood science in a special feature on this week's nature.org.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Silver Creek Preserve Opens 35th season

For anglers, it's always a special day: The fly fishing opener at Silver Creek, always the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.

This year it's extra special: It marks the start of a summer of celebration for the preserve's 35th anniversary.

We have a summer of activities planned, including a 35th anniversary gala with inspirational speakers, music, dancing, auction trips and more--set on the beautiful grounds of Heart Rock Ranch (formerly the Diamond Dragon Ranch). Mark your calendar for June 30 and sign up today!

First, though, is this weekend's opening day barbecue. Join us for food and stories at the visitor center from noon to 3 p.m. (or until the food runs out) on Saturday, May 28. And check out our complete summer schedule.

And how will the fishing be this year? It's always hard to know, but if last year is any indication, there should be some real monsters lurking in the depths. Maybe you'll be lucky and catch one like the one Conservancy staffer Mark Davidson caught (pictured below).

We hope to see you at the preserve this summer. We'll be saving a a place for you!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lava Lake Video

Last week we announced new conservation easements on Lava Lake Land & Livestock lands, protecting 4533 acres in the Pioneer Mountains. Here's a video on The Nature Conservancy's continuing partnership with Lava Lake, including other conservation projects.

Additionally, check out Rocky Barker's blog on the easements and Pioneer Mountains, and this nice Twin Falls Times News piece on the same subject.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sage Grouse Video

Jean Bjerke shares this video she filmed at Dubois Grouse Days, held each April in Dubois, Idaho.

Grouse Days features a visit to the Conservancy's Crooked Creek Preserve, where these grouse were found. This part of the state remains a stronghold for sage grouse. It's great to see so many strutting and puffing. Thanks for sharing, Jean!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Lava Lake Lands Protected

Two conservation easements will protect 4533 acres of ranchlands in the Pioneer Mountains owned by Lava Lake Land & Livestock. The Nature Conservancy will hold the easements.

Conservation easements are legal agreements that ensure traditional uses of the land continue while protecting the property from subdivision.

The two properties protected by easements are located in the West Fork of Fish Creek drainage in the Pioneer Mountains, an area identified as important for wildlife in Idaho’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. The properties are particularly important for sage grouse populations in the Pioneers, and also provide habitat for pronghorn, elk, mule deer, moose, sage thrasher and rare plants.

Learn more.

Photo by William H. Mullins

Friday, May 06, 2011

Women and Water

Women everywhere are stepping up to encourage smarter choices about water. Get inspired by visionary women like Cindy Mann, an Idaho farmer who is saving water with "pivotal" new technology at Silver Creek.

And watch other women discuss their connections to water conservation at nature.org/womenandwater.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Silver Creek: Let the Spring Fun Begin

This year marks Silver Creek Preserve's 35th anniversary. To celebrate, we have a season of fun activities planned, beginning this month. Phone 208-788-7910 to sign up or for more inforamtion. All activities at the preserve are free. We hope to see you at Silver Creek this summer!

May 8, 8:30 am - Mother's Day! Early morning guided birding with visiting Audubon guide Bernie Smith. Meet at the visitors center.

May 19, 6-9 pm - Evening birding with local expert Larry Barnes, meeting at the visitor center.

May 21 - Wood River Land Trust canoe float (contact WRLT for details, 208-788-3947).

May 26 - Picabo Hills hike for wildlife and wildflower viewing. This is a strenuous hike through rugged terrain (no trail). Bring lunch and water.

May 27 - Friends of Silver Creek canoe float (3 pm) and barbecue (5 pm). Have the opportunity to float the creek and scout it before opening day!

May 27 through August 26 - Sam Beebe photographic exhibition and vintage Silver Creek photo exhibit, The Community Library, Ketchum

May 28 - Opening day of trout season! Barbecue (12-3 pm, or until the food runs out) at the visitor center.

Full summer schedule

Save The Date: Silver Creek 35th Anniversary Gala. 6:30 pm Thursday, June 30 at Heart Rock Ranch (formerly Diamond Dragon Ranch). More information