Farmland Conserved Near Market Lake

A recent partnership between Ducks Unlimited (DU) and Teton Regional Land Trust has conserved important farmland and open space near the Market Lake Wildlife Management Area.  Thanks to the generosity of Wetlands America Trust, a supporting organization of Ducks Unlimited, the 242 acre property will continue to be used for agriculture and will help buffer nearby public lands. Wetlands America Trust first purchased the property in November of 2012. In 2016, Ducks Unlimited approached the Land Trust to conserve the property with a conservation easement.

This newly protected property lies along I-15, a half mile from the Market Lake Wildlife Management Area, and will continue its use as productive farmland. The property’s agricultural fields, wetland areas, and its proximity to the Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are valuable to many important bird species. “Market Lake WMA is a world-class resource for a wide variety of wildlife, especially migratory birds. This easement is undoubtedly a benefit to the resources provided by the Market Lake WMA.  It is extremely fulfilling to have been a part of such an impactful project,” said Bill Dell’Isola, Resource Specialist for Teton Regional Land Trust.

Ducks Unlimited donated the conservation easement and gave up a portion of the property’s development rights to protect this important farmland and open space.  Chris Bonsignore, DU’s Manager of Conservation Programs, described the reasoning behind wanting to protect the property.  “Preserving the rural landscape in and around Market Lake, which includes wetlands, other natural habitats and agriculture, provides important benefits for waterfowl, other wildlife, and people.  This is one of DU’s highest priorities in Idaho.  We are very pleased to be working with the Teton Regional Land Trust and our other partners to complete this conservation easement which will preserve a portion of this unique landscape for the benefit of future generations.”

“DU’s efforts to conserve open lands buffering the Market Lake Wildlife Management Area are extremely important for the many species utilizing the WMA’s resources,” said Josh Holmes, Teton Regional Land Trust Land Protection Specialist.

Most recently, the property was sold to an agricultural producer. The conservation easement, which limits subdivision, mining, and other incompatible uses, will remain in place for the benefit of future generations while the farmland will continue its traditional agricultural production.

Teton Regional Land Trust has worked with partner organizations and willing landowners for the last twenty-seven years to protect over 33,000 acres through conservation easements and other voluntary conservation options. A conservation easement is a legal agreement that allows for farming and ranching of properties as well as limited residential construction, but permanently restricts the amount and type of future development.

 

Teton River Restoration on HD Dunn & Son Ranch

Teton Regional Land Trust (TRLT) partnered with the Dunn family of the HD Dunn & Son Ranch to complete a Teton River bank restoration project in late December.  The project benefits a variety of wildlife species including the Yellowstone cutthroat trout, Bald Eagle, Trumpeter Swan, Sandhill Crane, and Columbian sharp-tailed grouse.

The Land Trust worked within the same reach a couple years ago and determined more aggressive restoration techniques were needed to stabilize the riverbank.  TRLT’s Stewardship Specialist, Anthony Gunnell led the effort utilizing techniques such as placing logs, large root wads, and transplanting willows to stabilize the bank.  This project contributes to the health of the river by stabilizing the banks to reduce sediment. As the willows grow, they will also shade the river providing both cover from predators and cooler temperatures for the fish. Historic ranching practices contributed to streambank degradation and restoration projects have been a large focus for the Teton Regional Land Trust.

Teton Regional Land Trust (TRLT) and the Dunn family have been lasting partners over the years.  Back in 2004, the family placed portions of their working Angus beef ranch under a conservation easement held by Teton Regional Land Trust.  The Dunn’s conservation easement, along with Idaho Department of Fish and Game land and other adjacent conservation easements, makes up the longest stretch of protected river banks on the Teton River.  Over the years, the Dunn family also partnered with the Land Trust and public agencies to utilize programs through the Natural Resource and Conservation Service (NRCS).  These efforts furthered sustainable ranching management practices and have kept cattle off the river to benefit water quality.  “The Land Trust’s partnership with the HD Dunn & Son Ranch is a great example of demonstrating how ranching and conservation can go hand-in-hand,” said Joselin Matkins, Teton Regional Land Trust Executive Director.

Ken Dunn commented, “Our ranch has long-been an operating cattle ranch, and we have continually strived to be good stewards of the land and the waterways that traverse our property. The recent stream bank restoration project is one of many steps we are making to improve the fish and wildlife habitat on our ranch and the place we call home. We value the health of the Teton River and recognize its importance to our operation, local fishery and the community.  We hope the management techniques we employ and stream bank improvements we have made will lead to a healthier fishery that we can all enjoy.”

This restoration project was funded by Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation, US Fish & Wildlife Service-Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, and Grand Targhee Protect Our Winters Foundation.

Conservation and Agriculture Working Together

Teton Regional Land Trust and two eastern Idaho ranchers recently closed on conservation easements to protect their ranches for future generations.  “We want to keep it this way forever,” said Boyd and Rhea Price reflecting on their land. The Prices are recently retired postal workers and cattle ranchers who own a family ranch near St. Anthony along the Henry’s Fork. In Teton Valley, hunting outfitter, Paul Gilroy, pastures horses on his ranch.  Gilroy said he worked with the Land Trust on a conservation easement because he thinks “it is best for the wildlife and good for the community.”

These landowners consider their ranches to be integral to their livelihood. Both realized that income from a conservation easement would make it possible for them to keep their land and pass it down to their heirs.  The Prices and Gilroy both truly wanted to see their land conserved rather than developed. They have great respect for the wildlife that relies upon the habitat along the river and creek corridors of their properties.

 

The Price Property, downriver from St. Anthony in Fremont County, is bordered by land owned and managed by the BLM and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game along the Henry’s Fork.  Their land has about a half mile of Henry’s Fork river frontage and wetlands associated with the river.  Wildlife that use this property include waterfowl, water birds and raptors, including Bald Eagles, as well as big game including moose and white-tailed deer.  In addition to wildlife habitat, scenic open space views of agricultural lands, riparian areas, and the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River have been protected for members of the public traveling along county roads and floating this section of the Henry’s Fork just above the Red Road Bridge.

 

Gilroy’s land lies just outside the city of Driggs in Teton County, bordering additional private land preserved by a conservation easement to the north.  Approximately one quarter of a mile of Teton Creek and three quarters of a mile of Spring Creek flow through the property.  Mature cottonwoods and willows line the creek corridors providing habitat for white-tailed deer, elk, raptors, and songbirds.  The conservation easement provides scenic open space for the community and has eliminated significant residential development potential from this section of the Teton Creek Corridor, keeping the land open for continued agricultural uses.

 

A conservation easement is a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and the Land Trust that limits certain uses of the land – like large scale subdivision – in order to conserve the natural and traditional values of the land. Landowners grant conservation easements to protect the resources of their property, while retaining the rights of private ownership. Teton Regional Land Trust has been working across eastern Idaho for over 25 years and has worked with over 120 families to protect over 33,000 acres.  Our farmers and ranchers, like Boyd and Rhea Price and Paul Gilroy, are under tremendous pressure to develop their land. Conservation easements are a tool to compensate and provide financial support to farmers and ranchers so they can pass their farm on to the next generation.

International Crane Expert, George Archibald, comes to Wydaho

 

The Teton Regional Land Trust was honored to host Dr. George Archibald, world renowned crane expert and Co-founder of the International Crane Foundation, last week in Jackson, Wyoming.  Archibald gave his “Cranes, Grains and Gains” presentation at the National Wildlife Art Museum to a crowd of crane enthusiasts. The presentation shared the story of communities and conservationists working together to create partnerships that benefit family farms and cranes around the world.

Here in the Greater Yellowstone region, we are fortunate to have Sandhill cranes. Many bird conservation organizations identify Sandhill cranes as an important umbrella species.  These cranes are drivers for conservation initiatives because protecting them and their habitat provides benefits for other wildlife species. Cranes need expansive areas like Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, secure wetlands—such as conservation easement properties, and connected agricultural lands to nest and rear their young. In fall, a large number flock throughout Teton Valley as they prepare for their migration south to New Mexico and Mexico.

Teton Valley provides crucial habitat for Sandhill cranes that summer and breed throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) to complete their annual cycles. In fact, Teton Valley is the largest migration staging area for Sandhill Cranes in the entire GYE. “The Teton Valley Crane Project, led by the Land Trust and partners, aims to secure the future of Teton Valley’s critical Sandhill crane habitat by working with local farmers and landowners to provide grain food plots for cranes, as well as protect habitat through voluntary permanent land protection,” said Joselin Matkins, Teton Regional Land Trust Executive Director, “we were so honored to share this project with George.”

The future of cranes was once as fragile as the graceful birds themselves.  George Archibald’s visionary leadership in international conservation efforts over the past 40 years has encouraged worldwide crane conservation.  In 1973, when cranes were in a perilous situation and many were on the brink of extinction, Archibald, along with Cornell University colleague, Ronald Sauey, Ph.D., established the International Crane Foundation (ICF) in Baraboo, Wisconsin as the world center for the study and preservation of cranes.  Archibald is a true conservation ambassador who uses his unique brand of diplomacy to work in sensitive places.  He leverages the charisma of cranes to unite people from diverse cultures and countries to work together to preserve the landscapes necessary for the survival of both cranes and people.  To learn more about ICF, please visit:  www.savingcranes.org.

For more information about this conservation easement or the Teton Regional Land Trust please call 208-354-8939 or visit www.tetonlandtrust.org.

 

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Bates Teton River Project

The Teton Regional Land Trust is thrilled to announce an exciting new partnership working to improve public access and promote resource protection along the Teton River. Together with Teton County, Idaho, the Trust for Public Land, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and local non-profits including Friends of the Teton River, LegacyWorks Group, Valley Advocates for Responsible Development and the Community Foundation of Teton Valley, the Land Trust is partnering on the Bates Teton River Project to purchase, improve, and forever protect the Bates Bridge public access.

Flowing through Teton County, the Teton River is a prized fishery where people travel from all corners for their chance to catch a native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout or to simply relax while paddling the waters.  Purchasing the land was a great investment in our community, the local economy and our wildlife.

This project provides the opportunity for our community to come to protect one of the most popular public access sites on the Teton River, to improve the safety and parking of the river access, and to permanently protect the riverbanks and surrounding wetlands, wildlife habitat, and agricultural land from residential development and other incompatible uses.

The Trust for Public Land is facilitating the purchase with the intent of transferring ownership to Teton County. The County will own the parcel with a portion of the property designated for recreational use by the public, and the remainder forever protected for its ecological, agricultural, and open space values through a conservation easement. The land trust will work with Teton County to ensure the conservation values are upheld. These portions will stay wild and protected forever.

The new public access site will be located on the north side of Bates Road will include an enlarged boat ramp, ample parking, restrooms, informational kiosks and areas for families to picnic and play.  Once the improvements are complete, the existing access and parking areas will be decommissioned and restored.

As we take a moment to celebrate the 80 acre purchase, there is still a lot of work to be done. We look forward to keeping you updated in the year ahead on how you can help.

http://www.tetonvalleynews.net/news/county-buys-land-to-revamp-bates-bridge-access/article_5e77989a-5fdc-11e6-83ad-9fb92a43f0be.html

 

 

Trumpeter Swan Project

Trumpeter Swans are one of our region’s most iconic birds and embody the extraordinary landscape we call home. Trumpeters are the largest waterfowl species native to North America, and in addition to being visually magnificent, they exhibit highly cognizant behavior, strong family bonds, and can to live up to 25 years old in the wild. In the Greater Yellowstone region, Trumpeters can be seen and heard near ponds, rivers, and streams year-round.

Once abundant throughout North America, Trumpeter Swans were hunted heavily for their hides and feathers from the 17th through 19th centuries. By the early 1900’s, Trumpeter Swans were thought to be extinct. In 1932, 69 Trumpeters found at Red Rock Lakes, Montana were thought to be the last remaining Trumpeter Swans in existence. Thanks to swift conservation efforts, Trumpeter populations have risen to stable numbers throughout most of their range.

Trumpeter Swans continue to face a number of threats. In Teton Valley and across the globe, many wetlands have been drained or filled, negatively impacting countless wildlife species, including Trumpeters. In addition, declining beaver populations throughout the Greater Yellowstone region have furthered wetland resource losses. Currently, the Greater Yellowstone Trumpeter Swan nesting population is struggling due to lack of habitat. Biologists are seeing fewer nesting trumpeter swan pairs in our region, and even fewer successful nests.

Teton Regional Land Trust has worked with families and other conservation groups over the past 25 years to conserve over 33,000 acres in East Idaho, including 11,000 acres in Teton Valley. The successes of our wetland protection and restoration program, combined with Teton Basin’s strategic location, have created a unique opportunity to reestablish Trumpeter Swan nesting in Teton Valley, and enhance Trumpeter nesting throughout the Greater Yellowstone region.

In 2013, TRLT teamed up with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Wyoming Wetlands Society, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Trumpeter Swan Society, and a local family to release Trumpeter Swans onto a protected wetland in an attempt to establish a nesting population in Teton Valley.

On May 6th, TRLT and partners will be continuing this exciting endeavor by releasing 5 yearling Trumpeter Swans in Teton Valley. Please join in on the excitement by clicking here to view our released Trumpeter Swans on our Web Camera before they migrate! The 2016 released Trumpeters will be wearing green neck collars with white lettering, so please help us on our look out! We have a Trumpeter Swan Observation Form here, and we encourage all to use it to help keep us informed of any Trumpeter Swan sightings.

If you want to support the continuation of this project, please consider giving on Thursday May, 5th through Idaho Gives! Visit https://idahogives.razoo.com/us/story/Teton-Regional-Land-Trust. Join us at MarCellar’s Wine and Brew, 431 Park Avenue in Idaho Falls from 5:30-8 pm on Thursday, May 5th to celebrate.

TRLT’s mission is to conserve working farms and ranches, critical fish and wildlife habitat, and scenic landscapes in Eastern Idaho for present and future generations. Always feel free to stop by our office at 1520 S. 500 W. in Driggs and open 9-5 weekdays, or give us a call at 208-354-8939 for more information on the Trumpeter Swan reintroduction, conservation efforts, volunteer opportunities, programs, events and more.

Teton Regional Land Trust Announces New Executive Director

The staff and Board of Teton Regional Land Trust (TRLT) are proud to announce Joselin Matkins as their new Executive Director. TRLT received over 68 applications for the position and took on a three-part interview process that lasted almost five months. In the end, the Teton Regional Land Trust Board of Directors unanimously selected Matkins to be the new leader of the organization.

Matkins brings 14 years of land trust experience to TRLT. She served for five years as the Executive Director of Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust in Pocatello, Idaho and has served as the president of the Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts (ICOLT) since 2009. For the last two years, Joselin worked for TRLT as the Land Protection Director where she established strong relationships with landowners, supporters, and partners, completed several conservation projects, and led the organization’s reaccreditation application which was awarded in February 2015.

Matkins will fill the role previously held by Chet Work, who left TRLT for an opportunity to serve as the Executive Director of The Land Trust of Santa Barbara County. Throughout the hiring process, Tamara Sperber served as the Interim Executive Director and Matkins will take over as Executive Director effective March 16, 2015. This transition comes at an exciting time for TRLT as they are celebrating their silver anniversary and recently surpassed 32,000 acres of protected, farms, ranches, and critical wildlife habitat in east Idaho. TRLT is very excited about their accomplishments and looks forward to even greater success in the years to come.

“It is such an honor to be selected to lead such a prestigious organization. This is truly an opportunity of a lifetime.  I am excited to step into the role as Teton Regional Land Trust celebrates 25 years of conservation success in east Idaho. I look forward to building on that success with one of the best land trusts in the country. Together with our great board, staff and community we can continue to be a leader in the protection of the intrinsic values that draw so many to our special corner of Idaho”, Joselin Matkins, Executive Director Teton Regional Land Trust.

Matkins received her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Colorado. She started her land trust journey as an intern with the Wood River Land Trust before returning to graduate school at Oregon State University. There she received her Master of Science degree from the College of Forestry, Department of Forestry and Ecosystems and Society.

“As a fourth generation Idahoan who knows us, and knows our special landscape, Joselin is the perfect person to lead our efforts to conserve our place for present and future generations,” Tim Hopkins, TRLT Board of Directors President. 

Matkins’ family homesteaded in Roberts, Idaho before settling near Mud Lake.   Matkins was born in Pocatello and grew up in the Wood River Valley.   Her personal interests easily align with TRLT’s mission of protecting critical land in east Idaho. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast and enjoys hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and floating local rivers.

The Teton Regional Land Trust will be introducing Matkins as the new Executive Director to the community, land trust members, and landowners throughout the region this spring and summer. For your chance to meet Matkins in her new capacity, please visit the TRLT website or follow us on Facebook for the announcement of upcoming events.

The Teton Regional Land Trust works to preserve important agricultural lands and fish and wildlife habitat in Eastern Idaho for the benefit of present and future generations. For more information about Teton Regional Land Trust, please call 208-354-8939 or stop by the office at 1520 South 500 West, Driggs, Idaho 83422.

180 Acres of Critical Habitat Conserved

The Teton Regional Land Trust recently partnered with the LOR Foundation and other private donors to permanently protect 180 acres of land on Sage Creek Ranch north of Tetonia, ID. The property is adjacent to Teton Regional Land Trust’s Petzoldt Preserve at the headwaters of Spring Creek near Hatch’s Corner, the north end of Teton County.

This beautiful piece of land is part of the Spring Creek Marsh, a large wetland area that hosts a wide variety of plant and animal species. Conserving this property adds an additional 50 acres of protected wetlands to those already protected by the Petzoldt Preserve, and 140 acres of upland pasture and native sagebrush shrub land are protected from future residential development. Conserving this property provides scenic open space and critical wildlife habitat for members of the general public, forever.

Spring Creek flows south through the property and then west gathering waters from Middle and North Leigh Creeks before entering the Teton River about eight miles downstream. The wetlands that feed Spring Creek cover an area of about 300 acres and provide important nesting and foraging habitat for Sandhill cranes. Conserving the Spring Creek wetland has added a significant measure of protection for these beautiful, iconic birds. The property also provides foraging and winter habitat for Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse, a bird listed as aSpecies of Greatest Conservation Need by the Idaho Fish and Game in 2005.

The Spring Creek Property and its associated wetlands and uplands provide excellent foraging habitat for a number of raptors as well. Birds seen on the property include the Great-horned Owl, Short-eared Owl, American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Rough Legged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk and Swainson’s Hawk. Mammals that inhabit the property include the badger, red fox, white-tail deer, mule deer, and coyote. Spring Creek also provides habitat for both Eastern brook trout and for Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Forever protecting this critical wetland habitat will ensure that these mammals, birds, and fish continue to thrive in this spectacular piece of land in Eastern Idaho.

“Preservation of this quality biological marsh is fundamental to maintaining the nature of the West Slope Valley of the Tetons. The Goble and Caspari families are proud to partner with the Teton Land Trust in attempting to preserve, forever, what attracts all of us to this special place.” – E. Marlowe Goble, property owner.

“It was my pleasure to work with landowners to protect critical wetland habitat, while maintaining sustainable ranching practices and scenic open space. The protection of this property builds on the nearly 11,000 acres or wildlife habitat and working farms and ranches protected in Teton Valley by the Land Trust,” – Joselin Matkins, Land Protection Director.

The Teton Regional Land Trust (TRLT) works to preserve important agricultural lands and fish and wildlife habitat in eastern Idaho for the benefit of present and future generations. TRLT worked with private donors and the LOR Foundation out of Jackson, Wyoming to make this transaction a reality. The LOR Foundation seeks to enhance liveability of the inter-mountain west by promoting efficient and sustainable land uses, context sensitive transportation choices, and cultural and recreational amenities, as a means to strengthen community, inform land use decisions, and preserve open spaces.

To date, the Teton Regional Land Trust has conserved over 31,000 acres in the Upper Snake River Valley. For more information about land conservation or the Teton Regional Land Trust please visit www.tetonlandtrust.org or call 208-354-8939.