Upper Salmon Basin Watershed Project

Upper Salmon Basin Watershed Project featured on LifeontheRange.org, showcases award-winning fish-enhancement projects in Salmon, Leadore

BOISE — (Nov. 15, 2010) — The Iron Creek salmon-restoration project near Salmon and Merrill Beyeler’s recent fish-enhancement improvements on his Leadore ranch are two of the stories profiled in a video and feature story about the Upper Salmon Basin Watershed Program on the new web site “Life on the Range.”

Sponsored by the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission, the web site showcases fresh stories about the ever-changing landscape of ranching, multiple-use management, entrepreneurial spirit, family and stewardship on Idaho’s rangelands.

Iron Creek Angus Rancher owner Jan Phillips is featured in the Upper Salmon Basin story, which showed how the Phillips converted to sprinkler irrigation, removed obstacles to fish passage, and opened up many miles of Iron Creek to fish spawning for the first time in a century. The project earned a governor’s stewardship award in 2009.

Beyeler recently inked a deal with The Nature Conservancy that will protect 2,400 acres of salmon and steelhead habitat, including conservation easements. The deal will allow the next generation of the Beyeler family to work on their ranch in Leadore and raise their families in the rural community.

Life on the Range profiles other ranchers throughout the state of Idaho who are engaged in cutting-edge management, including:

  • Lava Lake Ranch in Carey, which is marketing its certified organic and all-natural lamb directly to restaurants and consumers in southern Idaho and elsewhere while receiving honors for exceptional land management.
  • The Harris Family at the Bar H Bar Ranch in Soda Springs, who have improved their range stewardship through active herding in the national forest with the assistance of paying guests. The Harrises started the guest ranching business not long after the movie, “City Slickers,” came out in the early 1990s.
  • The Schwenkfelder Family’s SS Cattle Company in Cambridge, which created a wildlife-enhancement project on the home ranch to create a new home for waterfowl, songbirds and fish. The Schwenkfelders also play host to sage grouse, a candidate species.
  • Bruneau Rancher Chris Black, who received a national stewardship award from the Bureau of Land Management in 2008 for riparian-restoration work and outstanding rangelands management. Black runs cattle in the new Owyhee Wilderness area.
  • The Noh Sheep Company, run by John and Julie Noh, which manages using rest-rotation principles and shares public lands in the South Hills near Twin Falls with a bevy of recreation users.

“We’ve been wanting to share many of the positive stories that go on every day on Idaho’s Rangelands for a long time, and we’re finally doing that with a state-of-the-art web site,” said Gretchen Hyde, executive director of the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission (IRRC).

“People can watch videos that touch on the high points of the stories, read a written feature that provides more detail, or look through a slide reel of still photos to get a flavor for the people and critters involved,” Hyde said. “As we mentioned on the front page of the web site, we are interested in getting any tips from the public about other stories that we should capture for this project in the coming years.”

About the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission: The Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission is an educational organization representing the state’s cattle and sheep ranchers. It seeks to increase public understanding about the balanced management of public rangelands, it promotes rangeland stewardship, and it provides information and educational materials to Idaho’s school children.