U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Division of Refuge Planning
Mountain-Prairie Region

Completed Plan Contacts

The Service completed this plan
in 2013.


Southeast Idaho National Wildlife Refuge Complex
4425 Burley Drive, Suite A
Chubbuck, Idaho 83202
208 / 237 6615 telephone

Refuge Web site: www.fws.gov/grayslake/seidaho/index.html


Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
2155 West Forest Street
Brigham City, Utah 84302
435 / 723 6451 telephone

Refuge Web site: www.fws.gov/refuge/bear_river_migratory_bird_refuge



Cokeville National Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 700
Green River, Wyoming 82935
307 / 875 2187 telephone

Refuge Web site: www.fws.gov/refuge/cokeville_meadows/


Land Protection Plan

Bear River Watershed Conservation Area

Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming


The Bear River Watershed Conservation Area is in the northeastern corner of Utah, extending into southeastern Idaho and southwestern Wyoming.

This large-landscape, conservation easement strategy will protect important habitat for a variety of fish, mammals, and migratory birds and major migration corridors connecting the northern and southern Rocky Mountains. In addition, the conservation area will facilitate watershed-wide conservation efforts and will protect valuable farmland and ranchland.

  • Comprises a project area within the Bear River watershed.
  • Potential land protection with conservation easements bought from willing sellers.

In the course of its 500-mile journey, the Bear River passes through three national wildlife refuges—Bear Lake, Bear River, and Cokeville Meadows—encompassed within the proposed conservation area.

Grassland and shrubland (mostly big sagebrush) dominate the lowlands, while pinyon-juniper woodlands and pine forests cover the higher slopes. The lowlands are mostly privately owned and used for agriculture and grazing, where Bear River water is extensively used to irrigate alfalfa, pastureland, and small grain crops.

Conservation easement contracts specify perpetual protection of habitat for trust species and limits on residential, industrial, or commercial development. Contracts prohibit alteration of the natural topography, conversion of native grassland to cropland, drainage of wetland, and establishment of game farms.

Plan cover photo of a river flowing through a mountain valley.

Cover photograph of the Stillwater Fork of the Bear River flowing out of the Uinta Mountains at Christmas
Meadows, Utah. Copyright Craig Denton

Easement land remains in private ownership. Therefore, property tax and invasive plant control remains the responsibility of the landowner, who also keeps control of public access to the land. Contracts do not restrict grazing on easement land.