This winter is the second that Western Watersheds Project has been managing the 440 acre Greenfire Preserve located on over one and a half miles of the East Fork of the Salmon River in central Idaho. The Preserve is managed to enhance and restore native plant landscapes and to provide healthy habitat for native animal species including large predators like wolves, mountain lions and coyotes and threatened fish such as chinook salmon, steelhead trout, and bull trout all of which are present in the East Fork.
The currently irrigated fields at Greenfire, on which cattle and hay were produced for over 100 years before 2000, now provide successful year round habitat and forage for a number of native species of wildlife. This winter as many as 100 deer and elk have been on the Preserve during any one day. Additionally, at least four of the Corral Basin feral horse herd have been eating Greenfire forage this winter, a number of coyotes have taken up residence as well.
On January 16, 2002 Western Watersheds Project received notification of the approval of WWP's application for an EPA Clean Water Act Section 319 Non-Point Source Water Quality Grant from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The grant is for non-point water quality improvement work at Greenfire Preserve and on the Lake Creek public school endowment land grazing lease located about 11 miles from the preserve on a tributary of the East Fork of the Salmon River. Readers will remember that the Lake Creek lease of 640 acres which includes one mile of Lake Creek was the very first expiring Idaho grazing lease applied for by WWP (then IWP) in September 1993. This lease was finally awarded to WWP in 2000 after years of court proceedings ending up twice with the Idaho Supreme Court ruling unanimously in WWP's favor.
The 319 Grant funds will be matched up to 100% by WWP and will result in work to improve damaged riparian areas on The East Fork of the Salmon River at the Greenfire Preserve and on the Lake Creek grazing lease. The grant administration will be overseen by the Idaho DEQ. Many thanks are owed to Judy Hall, WWP's Director of Fund Development for this successful program and grant.