The South Fork Snake River corridor from Swan Valley to the Menan Buttes is one of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s (GYE) most outstanding fish and wildlife resources. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ranked the cottonwood gallery forest along this reach of the river the number one wildlife resource in Idaho. The complex cottonwood forest is home to a large diversity of bird species, as it supports 25 species of nesting birds of prey, including the most productive Bald Eagle nesting habitat in the GYE. The South Fork is widely regarded as the finest native cutthroat trout river in the country and includes large populations of native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout.
Extensive cottonwood riparian forests and the surrounding canyons and cliffs along the South Fork provide vital habitat for a diverse population of neo-tropical migrant songbirds, 14 bald eagle breeding territories, three peregrine falcon eyries, mountain lion dens, as well as abundant habitat for black bears and large game such as elk, moose, and mule deer. With many of these species listed as sensitive, threatened or declining, habitat protection is critical.
The South Fork is also of critical importance to swans, geese and many other waterfowl during migration, nesting, and wintering as it supports up to 300 wintering Trumpeter Swans.
Development continues to threaten these critical scenic and natural resources, as the ridge tops of the canyon and the cottonwood galleries and wetlands of the river bottoms are being degraded. The Land Trust is working with willing landowners, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Services, as well as NGO partners such as The Nature Conservancy and The Conservation Fund to protect these important lands and natural resources forever.