Land and Water Conservation
Blaine County is known and valued for its beautiful landscapes that offer scenic views, endless recreational uses, economic livelihoods for farmers and ranchers, and habitats for a rich variety of wildlife. Our water resources are pristine, clean, and full of life. Creeks, rivers, and lakes span our landscape and provide the ability for life to thrive in our communities. We are committed to doing what it takes to conserve these natural resources, for the services they provide, and for their inherent value and beauty.
With our growing population fueling the need for more housing and related development alongside our changing climate that poses threats to our land, water, and wildlife habitats, we recognize that being intentional about land and water conservation practices is of critical importance. This includes improving land-use practices on lands that are already developed as well as lands used for agriculture. The Wood River Land Trust and Blaine County's Land, Water, and Wildlife Program (LWWP) are the most prominent entities working on conserving and restoring natural lands and habitats in Blaine County.
Land, Water, and Wildlife Program
In 2008, the citizens of Blaine County approved and funded the Land, Water and Wildlife Program (LWWP) “to protect lands and water quality in the Big and Little Wood River valleys, protect wildlife habitat throughout the County and protect working farms and ranches in the County.” The program is funded by a property tax that has raised over 3.3 million dollars for the conservation of our land, water, and wildlife. The LWWP has proven to be a highly effective tool for conserving and protecting our environment. As of 2021, the program has protected 3,098 acres. Some of the program's goals, established by Blaine county residents, are directly related to land and water conservation, including:
- Preserve working farms and ranches, agricultural lands, natural areas
- Protect water quality, rivers, and streams, riparian corridors, flood plains, wetlands, and water rights
- Protect and preserve wildlife, habitat, and transit and migration corridors
- Preserve or enhance trail corridors
- Provide public access to water bodies in the Big and Little Wood River watersheds
- Conserve, restore, or maintain and otherwise provide for proper stewardship of lands and waters
Visit the Blaine County LWWP page here to learn more about the program.
Land and Water Conservation Task Force
In May of 2022, 5B CAN began organizing task force groups to discuss the topic of Land and Water Conservation. Industry and community stakeholders have been meeting monthly to discuss and refine goals and actions that will make up the bulk of the county’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan.
Stay tuned for more information about the great work our task force groups are accomplishing.
Community Conservation in Action
Wood River Land Trust
The Wood River Land Trust was established in 1994 to protect central Idaho’s Big Wood River, its tributaries, and its landscapes. WRLT has helped to protect 27,000 acres of land and has created 16 open preserves and 41 conservation easements. Visit their website to learn more about what they do and how you can support their work.
You can learn more about Wood River Land Trust here
Wood River Water Collaborative (WRWC)
Private citizens, farmers, water agencies, nonprofit organizations, private interests, the Idaho Department of Water Resources, the Idaho Water Resource Board, District 26 legislators, and Blaine County Commissioners banded together to form the Wood River Water Collaborative to collectively tackle water-related issues in the Wood River Valley. The mission of the WRWC is to ensure:
- Safe, clean, drinking water to meet the needs of the watershed
- Sustainable water use for farming and ranching
- Healthy riparian habitat for fish and wildlife that rely on the Big Wood River, Little Wood River, Silver Creek, and their tributaries