Environmental group wins bidding war for grazing allotment

Group hopes to conserve habitats for wildlife
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 10:53 AM MDT
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STANLEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — $8,200 - that’s the sum of money that won the Western Watershed Project over 620 acres of land. However, to members of the association, this was a small price to pay in their book.

“To us, it wasn’t really a hefty price,” says Patrick Kelly, the Idaho director of the Western Watersheds Project. “It was a pretty small price to pay to set aside 620 acres for steelhead and bull trout.”

Initial thoughts from most were that the organization was going to use the land primarily as a sanctuary for prize game animals. However, Kelly says the primary reason was to protect fish habitats.

“So the two streams that run through the allotment, the Champion Creek and 4th of July Creek, are both designated habitats for bull trout and steelhead trout,” says Kelly. “Those streams are very important for those species in that area.”

However, not all are happy about the results of the auction. We reached out to cattle officials but did not hear back. They have made it clear, however, that they’re concerned about the land being managed properly. They’re worried that if it isn’t properly managed, overgrowth of vegetation in the area could result in even more enhanced wildfire risk.

However, for those at the Western Watershed Project, this is a win for Idahoans.

“The Sawtooth Valley is a beautiful place,” says Kelly. “A lot of people recreate, view wildlife, and fish in the area. Bull trout and steelhead trout are very special species.”

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