The primary threat to the Blackfoot
Watershed is habitat fragmentation. Residential development, poor logging
practices, invasive species encroachment, fire suppression, and improper grazing
management have all combined to adversely affect fish and wildlife habitat. Other
long-term threats include de-watered streams, poorly designed irrigation structures,
wetland drainage, expanding croplands in native grasslands, mining, and road construction.
For 10 years, the Partners
for Fish and Wildlife Program has been an active participant in an innovative watershed
group called the Blackfoot
Challenge. The Blackfoot Challenge is a proactive "grass roots"
organization which coordinates resource management in the Blackfoot River Watershed.
The Challenge's mission is to coordinate efforts that will enhance, conserve, and protect
the natural resources and rural lifestyle of the Blackfoot River Valley for present and
The Challenge uses small committees to deal with issues
such as habitat restoration, landscape protection, noxious weed management, drought
management, education, and recreation. Habitat projects have focused on the
restoration of drained wetlands, tributary streams, and riparian areas. Other
project include: re-seeding cropland to native grasses, grazing management, fish
passage barrier removal, instream flow enhancement, and noxious weed management.
Wetland restoration costs
in this Focus Area average $500 per acre. Upland enhancements cost $10 per acre. In-stream
restorations average $9.50 per linear foot and riparian restoration costs $1.50 per linear
measures have been focused on preserving the rural way of life and protecting critical
fish and wildlife habitat through the use of conservation easements. Easements
(versus fee acquisition) are the preferred landscape protection tool for a variety of
reasons including: easements keep the land in private ownership, they cost less to
purchase, they are less expensive to manage, and easements are socially acceptable.
Installation of a Denil fish ladder on Salmon Creek.
The Partners Program is
also very active with two other watershed groups in the Blackfoot. They include the
North Powell Conservation District and the Big Blackfoot
Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The North Powell Conservation District has focused
its efforts on water quality issues associated with the Nevada Creek Watershed, a
principle tributary to the Blackfoot River. The Big Blackfoot Chapter of Trout
Unlimited has been working on restoring the Blackfoot River, its tributaries, and adjacent
lands to benefit native bull and westslope cutthroat trout.
- Restore 1,500 acres of wetlands on
private lands in this Focus Area.
- Enhance or restore 200,000 acres of
- Restore 750 miles of in-stream and/or