Bellevue residents help restore the Howard Preserve

Since 2019 the City of Bellevue and local partners have been working together on a $120,000 project to renovate the preserve.
Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 7:28 AM MDT
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Bellvue, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —The City of Bellevue and some of its local partners are working together to restore an essential part of the community, and on Tuesday local residents stopped by to help the city out.

The Howard Preserve is a special recreational spot in Bellevue, due to its access to the big Wood River and abundance of trout.

“This has always been a great fishing area. This is where my grandpa taught me how to flyfish,” said Bellevue resident Mike Howard.

However, the Wood River isn’t always nice to the residents and homeowners of Bellevue. Some years the river can get flat-out nasty said, mayor Ned Burns.

“Homeowners in the flood of 2017 lost quite a bit of yard,” said Burns. “Those river adjacent homeowners ended up with much less yard, and the river being much closer to their houses.”

Since 2019 the City of Bellevue, Wood River Land Trust, and Friends of the Howard Preserve have been working together on a $120,000 project to renovate the Howard Preserve and reconnect it to its flood plain through a side channel. The purpose of the project is to reduce flooding impacts and enhance fish and wildlife habitats.

“There has been over the decades a lot of development within the flood plains, so much that half the river is disconnected from its flood plain,” said Ryan Santo, restoration specialist for the Wood River Land Trust.

The project is nearly complete and on Tuesday about 15 members from the community got together to restore an access trail to the river. One of them was Howard, whose family used to own the property.

“This has always been a special place, and I happen to live at the south end of the preserve,” Howard said.

With vaccines being rolled and people looking to get outside, Burns thinks the residents of Bellevue will be impressed when the project is finished the Spring

“Take a nice walk, go fishing, and just enjoy it down here. It’s Bellvue’s absolute hidden gem,” Burns said.

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