For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 20, 2022
John Robison, ICL Public Lands Director, (208) 345-6933 x 213
Abby Urbanek, ICL Communications Manager, (208) 345-6933 x 214
Bryan Hurlbutt, Staff Attorney, Advocates for the West, (208) 342-7024 x 206
Boise National Forest’s Sage Hen Project to get a fresh start
BOISE, ID – Yesterday, conservation groups and the Federal Government signed a settlement agreement regarding the Sage Hen Restoration Project on the Boise National Forest. Conservation groups, including the Idaho Conservation League (ICL), filed litigation in December of 2021, expressing concerns with negative impacts to bull trout habitat associated with extensive road construction and logging. The original project also included thinning and prescribed fire, along with some watershed restoration activities on 68,000 acres of public lands in the Boise National Forest, in and around the popular Sage Hen Reservoir in Idaho’s West Mountains.
As part of the settlement, the Forest Service agreed to develop an additional alternative with reduced road construction and commercial logging. Recently approved federal funding for forest and watershed restoration is bringing millions of dollars to Idaho, and some of these funds could be utilized in and around the project area.
“This is another chance for the public to get involved with this revised project, which could include additional forest and watershed restoration opportunities and expanded recreation opportunities,” said John Robison with ICL. “If done correctly, the project could serve as a model for the next generation of forest and watershed restoration projects in Idaho and beyond.”
David Dudley, a local private property owner who has lived in the area for decades and has been tracking the project closely, is encouraged by the settlement. “I am looking forward to getting the project back on track so we can better protect and restore the habitat for fish and wildlife around the Sage Hen area.”
“Sage Hen area bull trout are listed under the Endangered Species Act and live further south and at lower elevation than most other bull trout populations, putting them at serious risk due to climate change,” said Bryan Hurlbutt, an attorney at Advocates for the West, which is representing ICL. “Instead of putting these threatened fish at further risk, a new and improved Sage Hen Project could help restore and sustain the cool, clear, free-flowing streams these fish need to survive.”