Idaho Watersheds Project wins auction for 16,000 acre lease in Clearwater County in north Idaho


On Tuesday August 22, 2000 Idaho Watersheds Project was the high bidder for the Lacey Meadows Allotment grazing lease in the Jim Ford Creek watershed in Clearwater County, Idaho 3 miles South-east of Weippe, Idaho. This lease which includes over 16,000 acres of Idaho endowment land (belonging to several endowments including the public school endowment) is acknowledged by the State to have many miles of functioning-at-risk and non-functioning creeks including several of the main tributaries of Jim Ford Creek which is itself listed (on the state 303d list) as being out of compliance with State of Idaho water quality standards. Livestock grazing is acknowledged to be a significant contributor to the current degraded conditions. IWP provided a proposed 10 year management plan before the auction which proposes no livestock use for the ten year term of the lease.

The Lacey Meadows Grazing Association opened the bidding with a bid of $1,500. which IWP followed with a bid of $3,000. The association bid $3,500. and IWP followed with $5,000. after which the bidding proceeded by $500. increments to an $8,000. bid by IWP which proved to be the winning bid. IWP had previously paid the first year's rent of $5,000 (for approximately 1000 AUMs) at the time of application for this expiring lease in April, 2000. In addition to the premium bid of $8,000. IWP also paid under protest, pending resolution of an appeal, the amount of $29,324. which the state has credited to the Lacey meadows Grazing Association for a share of fencing costs incurred on the lease in the last 25 years.

Chris Clark, the vice-president of the Lacey meadows Association announced after the auction that the Association will be appealing the lease auction to the Idaho Land Board although he gave no grounds for doing so.

IWP anticipates a possible legal battle for this lease if the Land Board decides to overturn the auction results and award the lease to the low bidder.

If awarded to IWP, this lease will increase IWP's grazing acreage under lease in Idaho to over 23,000 acres.