The Big Dry Arm Spring Storm in the Great Basin Red Cliffs Desert Tortoise Reserve March Morning on the Platte River After a Spring Storm in the Great Basin Hunting Upland Birds at Kingsbury Lake Waterfowl Production Area Sandhill Migration on the Platte River Badlands Sunrise The Green River at Ouray NWR North Park Lupines Moab Sunset
Refuge System - Planning
Mountain-Prairie Region
Graphic button showing the 8 state mountain prairie region

Land Protection Plan

Bear River Watershed Conservation Area—Idaho, Utah,
and Wyoming

Documents | Open / close all

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

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

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.

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
SE Idaho NWR Complex Website


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


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

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.

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.

Documents »

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: April 28, 2015
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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