"Dams make it so the water is hotter which is really important on a year like this," said Rachel Brinkley of the Idaho Conservation League who we ran into during a flotilla to raise awareness for Simpson's plan. "There is more exposure to predators, it means that less juvenile salmon are going to the ocean and less adults are coming back.
A group called United Payette has formed with the goal of preserving the McCall-area state lands where the Land Board manages about 285 square miles (740 square kilometers) around McCall, with 115 square miles (300 square kilometers) primarily as timberlands.
Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Idaho Conservation League, which has opposed the Trident proposal, told the Statesman by phone that he wasn’t surprised the proposal fell through, but that it doesn’t eliminate the possibility of private investors.
The Idaho Conservation League organized a "Rally for the River" event on the Boise River on Aug 7. People floated the river with signs encouraging the removal of the lower four dams on the Snake River that disrupt salmon habitat.
On August 7, conservation groups across the Northwest will host Rally for the River events to call for a comprehensive solution to salmon recovery that invests in the Northwest and breaches the four lower Snake River dams.
Idahoans use more water in and around our homes than people in any other state. I share that statistic a lot, and people typically respond with something like, “Well, of course we do. Agriculture is huge in Idaho.” But I’m not talking about agriculture. I’m talking about you, me and everyone else who lives here.
Justin Hayes of the Idaho Conservation League ... said in a recent op-ed that Cantwell is doing the region a “disservice” by advancing the provision. “This is just pumping money to prop up the failed status quo without consulting stakeholders or Tribes,” he wrote.
As wildfires in the West burn during this hot summer, the Idaho Conservation League has created a worksheet to help protect you and your loved ones from wildfire smoke and poor air quality days. This worksheet helps folks understand their health risks and make a plan.
"Restoring salmon to true abundance, finally honoring the all too often broken Treaties and commitments to Tribes, supporting orcas, investing in the massive amount of salmon-friendly renewable energy necessary to tackle climate change, investing in transportation, agriculture, and the economic health of our communities are all intertwined."
Ben Otto, an energy associate with the Idaho Conservation League, talks about the plans for the Lava Ridge Wind Proposal during an EcoFlight tour of the project area. (Photo: Pat Sutphin, Twin Falls Times-News)
(Josh Johnson) said far too many questions were unanswered in the first draft EIS, and he was glad to see the supplemental work ordered by the U.S. Forest Service. "We keep seeing the goalposts being moved,” he said, referencing the multiple modifications to Perpetua’s operational plans.
On Monday, (EcoFlight's) Gordon, members of the Idaho Conservation League and other passengers flew over the Stibnite Mine area. On Tuesday he piloted flights over endowment land in McCall, near Payette Lake. Wednesday they were in Twin Falls, looking at the landscape around a proposed wind farm.
Morels are “one of the most prized delicacies that can be commonly found throughout Idaho,” said Jonathan Oppenheimer, a wildfire management expert at the Idaho Conservation League and an amateur forager, by phone.
Alycia Bean, climate campaign coordinator for the Idaho Conservation League, said the recent conditions highlight the health aspects of the changing climate. "How are these people going to adapt to this long-term, you know, more than one or two days, sustained heat, given the resources and the infrastructure that they have?" Bean asked. "We are not prepared to handle something like that."
“It essentially comes down to the manure,” said Josh Johnson, an Idaho Conservation League conservation associate. “Whenever you put a large number of cows in a concentrated area, they are going to produce a lot of manure.”
Marie Kellner, conservation program manager with the Idaho Conservation League, believes securing the water will help salmon access their spawning grounds, significantly benefiting the species. “Idaho salmon need all the help they can get and ICL is really pleased to see the water board stepping in to get that help,” Kellner said.
The Idaho Conservation League reported that before the dams, about 1.5 million spring-summer chinook salmon returned each year to the Snake River. By 2017, only about 5,800 wild spring-summer chinook completed that journey.
Stakeholder collaboration works when interests get what they need, not necessarily what they want, and fish aren’t getting what they need, said Idaho Conservation League Executive Director Justin Hayes.
“Both sides disagree on a lot,” said Josh Johnson, who participates in the Lemhi Forest Restoration Group as a staffer for the Idaho Conservation League, an environmental nonprofit. “Where we agree is that the Forest Service hasn’t done the best job at public involvement.”
Marie Kellner, conservation program manager with the Idaho Conservation League, believes securing the water will help salmon access their spawning grounds, significantly benefiting the species. “Idaho salmon need all the help they can get and ICL is really pleased to see the water board stepping in to get that help.”
"A lot of people want to have their place out in the woods away from it all where they can kind of escape and have a little haven, and that's great, but there's also responsibility that we all have living out there," Jonathan Oppenheimer with the Idaho Conservation League said.
According to John Robison, public lands director for the Idaho Conservation League, much of Idaho and the country’s open spaces are “a mosaic of public and private properties, some of which have special easements for public access.”
“By preventing this pollution from continuously entering the river, we can hopefully prevent those more drastic effects from happening in Idaho,” said Ellie Hudson-Heck, a conservation assistant with Idaho Conservation League. “But in order to do that, we have to act now.”
“All of the funds, which will be held in a dedicated account by Jervois, will be put towards on-the-ground projects,” the Idaho Conservation League said. “The projects may involve activities such as removing barriers to fish passage, improving spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead, and restoring surrounding streamside habitat.”
“This new program will provide real, tangible, benefits to the basin’s water quality, habitat, fish and wildlife,” Idaho Conservation League Executive Director Justin Hayes said. He said the conservation league will “maintain an active relationship” with Jervois to use the funds to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat.
Jonathan Oppenheimer, external relations director for the Idaho Conservation League, said during the Q&A that a conservation easement is a lucrative option for the Department of Lands, allowing it to retain ownership of the parcels while benefiting from a number of revenue streams.
Jervois’ Idaho Cobalt Operations and the Idaho Conservation League have joined forces to create the Upper Salmon Conservation Action Program. Jervois plans to contribute $150,000 into the program each year its cobalt mine is in operation.
There’s $1.6 billion in the plan for “enhanced nutrient management funding.” That money would, to a large extent, go toward research that would help the Magic Valley dairy industry better its manure management practices in an effort to improve water quality and prevent excess nutrients from getting into the Snake River. There’s also $700 million for “Snake River Basin Watershed Partnerships.” That money’s designated for water quality improvement too.
Following the meeting, the Idaho Conservation League issued a statement asking that the process strive to consider and discuss Simpson’s proposal even as members of the collaborative settle in for a longer-term look at salmon recovery.
Idaho Conservation League Public Lands Director John Robison said the state and BLM, following the multi-stakeholder initiative that keyed wilderness designation, “recognized the existing checkerboard situation wasn’t serving the agencies’ interests as well as it could.”
Justin Hayes, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League, said the plan includes the creation of voluntary watershed partnerships to bring together agriculture interests, communities and conservationists.
"It's very comprehensive. It's clear that Congressman Simpson has put a lot of time talking to parties across the region, all of the interests he could bring together," said Justin Hayes with the Idaho Conservation League.
ICL’s Josh Johnson has an educational background in geology. He said the baseline water quality data for Dog Bone Ridge is still insufficient. To beef up the data for the new assessment, five new water monitoring sites were added, but only this past summer. Johnson said collecting a few samples over a single summer fails to account for the dramatic seasonal and annual variability in stream flow levels.
In a statement released in support of Simpson’s proposal, ICL believes the plan will save Idaho’s salmon and build a prosperous future for the region. ICL executive director Justin Hayes stated, “the proposal is bold, comprehensive and urgently needed for Idahoans and the people of the Northwest.”
Justin Hayes, the director of the Idaho Conservation League, supports Simpon’s plan. “This is the start of the Northwest finding a way to work together to restore salmon and provide for other important economies and communities,” he said.
Justin Hayes, ICL’s executive director, said, “The proposal is bold, comprehensive, and urgently needed for Idahoans and the people of the Northwest. We look forward to working with Rep. Simpson and all stakeholders to find solutions together to address the many elements of the proposal, including river restoration, salmon and steelhead recovery, affordable and clean energy, efficient transportation links and investments in Idaho’s agriculture, outdoor recreation and tourism industries.”
"What he's proposing is so much bigger than dams. It's about the region," said Justin Hayes of the Idaho Conservation League. "It's about working together to break out of the status quo, which has kept the region in conflict."
“We’re hopeful that this proposal brings people together to work to benefit communities in Idaho and the Northwest, providing jobs and needed investment that will lead to cleaner water, clean energy, abundant salmon and steelhead, prosperous farming, river, and waterfront communities and affordable energy for consumers,” said ICL executive director Justin Hayes.
“Folks who’ve traditionally been on the other side of the table on this, I’ve heard a lot of thoughtful things from them,” Idaho Conservation League director Justin Hayes said in a phone interview Sunday. “(Things like) ‘Wow, this is comprehensive.’ This addresses concerns that they have, and they’re on the table for discussion.”
Josh Johnson, Central Idaho conservation associate for the Idaho Conservation League, said in a Wednesday statement that without additional actions, consequences could include “impounded mine water” building up and “releasing contaminants through springs in the surrounding area, or even worse, in a catastrophic blowout.”
Further cleanup costs associated with the mine—which continues to release arsenic, zinc and other heavy metals into groundwater—would be fronted by taxpayers, according to Josh Johnson, Central Idaho conservation associate for the Idaho Conservation League.
Brad Smith, the North Idaho director of the Idaho Conservation League, applauded Biden’s steps to reduce carbon emissions, but was also quick to emphasize that lasting conservation work requires cooperation.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be revisiting wolf hunting and trapping regulations this year and “may consider expanding wolf trapping areas and seasons in the Wood River Valley,” according to a Saturday statement from the Idaho Conservation League.
Jonathan Oppenheimer, external relations director for the Idaho Conservation League, testified during the committee meeting. He said there has not been anyone from the FAA to testify at any of the stakeholder or legislative meetings. The Idaho Press attended all of the stakeholder meetings about the rule and there has never been any aviation administration members present.
“We are seeing already through some of Biden’s appointees and statements there is going to be a major push to address climate change and of course we are very supportive of that,” said Justin Hayes, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League at Boise.
Josh Johnson, ICL’s conservation associate, said, “Despite losing in court once already, Excellon Resources is back again for another chance to profit off our public lands while jeopardizing a key wildlife corridor in the Northern Rockies. If this project goes forward, it’s not just public lands, fish, and wildlife that stand to lose -- hunters, anglers, and recreationists will directly feel the brunt of these negative impacts.”
Marie Callaway Kellner, conservation program director with the Idaho Conservation League, believes the precedent from the FMC case will have ramifications throughout the West. “We congratulate the Tribes on this. It’s a great win for them and it probably would translate across Indian country about how government and private industry interact with Tribes,” she said.
“I think a significant thing that the workgroup talked about and learned and affirmed is that what Idahoans want is to recover real abundance,” said Justin Hayes, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League.
“While we’re disappointed that the land board didn’t take up this contested case … there is a required process moving forward, and we are hopeful that working with AT&T and FirstNet and other stakeholders that we can find suitable alternatives that can satisfy the Department of Lands, satisfy AT&T, satisfy local needs and concerns and result ultimately in revenue being paid to the Department of Lands endowment,” Oppenheimer said.
“President-elect Biden has stated his support for increasing fuel efficiency and helping consumers shift to electric vehicles,” Ki said. “This shift will both improve Treasure Valley air quality and help fight climate change.
“I and countless other Idahoans were heartbroken when Idaho's last remaining mountain caribou herd went extinct,” said Brad Smith of the Idaho Conservation League. “The Fish and Wildlife Service must act soon to ensure that Idaho's wolverines do not share the same fate.”
“It’s one thing to have some discussions with someone,” Oppenheimer said. “It seems to be another when there are eight to 10 agencies out on a field trip. When these discussions have been occurring since January and a land use permit was issued in August … there’s been a failure to include the public.”
"The transmission line is just a line. It's just like a road," (ICL's Ben Otto) said. "What matters is what travels over that line. So until we see real commitments that this line will be dedicated to clean energy, we're hesitant to take a position."
“There are ways that could still satisfy the Idaho Department of Lands requirement to maximize revenue and to have a lease for communications facilities, but that would also protect the integrity of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area," said Jonathan Oppenheimer, External Affairs Director for the Idaho Conservation League.
“These are public lands, and people should have the ability to provide meaningful comment and understand the environmental impacts and ultimately shape the (agency’s) decisions,” (Brad Smith) said. “If we continue to move toward expedited timber sales and limited public involvement and environmental review, we are cutting the public out of the process.”
“The Clean Water Act requires states to meet downstream water quality standards. Because Idaho is on the downstream end of the Kootenai River, the state of Montana must meet Idaho water quality standards at the state line,” Brad Smith said.
The current plan is a detriment to the recreation area because the tower would dominate the skyline and interrupt the view, Botti said. The scenery is the predominant draw of the area, Botti said, and any impact on it needs to be more carefully considered.
“Gov. Little spoke recently about the importance of collaboration on land issues, and we encourage members of the Land Board to heed his advice. The broad concerns from stakeholders, the county, the city and others at least deserve a response.”
While Blue Heart Springs is a natural gem in the Snake River landscape, our journey there and back was an opportunity to reflect on the severe water quality issues facing the Snake River and why we must work together to solve them.
Consumers in Idaho are concerned about power plant costs and climate change, said Ben Otto of the Idaho Conservation League. “It gets very unclear about who pays the costs once Washington leaves. It’s a real chance that Idahoans will get stuck with all these extra costs,” Otto said.
“What we have done through the Boise and Payette forest coalitions, and others, is to get people together with different perspectives to find zones of agreement and work out suggestions for the Forest Service to address concerns,” (ICL's John Robison) said. Coalitions also help the Forest Service “design projects that advance everyone’s interests. So public involvement is important.”
“It’s a continued pattern of wanting to stick their heads in the sand about climate change and not do anything about the impacts that greenhouse gas emissions will have on species,” said Brad Smith, the north Idaho director of the Idaho Conservation League.
Justin Hayes, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League, said the agreement is a recognition that recovery efforts need a new direction that goes above and beyond what federal agencies are able to do on their own.
“We are very concerned because this latest version of the rule lessens the acknowledgment that there is a connection between ground and surface water because it takes away some of the protections for what can be discharged into groundwater,” (ICL's Marie) Kellner said. “It’s our drinking water, it’s where we recreate, it’s aquatic habitat.”
To help clean up the Sawtooth NRA, the National Forest Foundation, Sawtooth Society, Sawtooth Interpretive and Historical Association and Idaho Conservation League are putting out a call for volunteers. Anyone who wants to help will get to pick how and where they pitch in.
The work of volunteers like Farbe adds up. Last year, 56 Idaho Conservation League wilderness stewards interacted with 3,216 trail users, destroyed 109 illegal campfire rings, packed out 100 pounds of litter, and extinguished three abandoned campfires.
The Idaho Conservation League, which has been engaged in conversations surrounding pesticide application, will seek to better understand the FAA oversight process “to ensure that public health is protected for communities, water quality supplies and farmworkers alike,” said Jonathan Oppenheimer, the non-profit’s government relationships director.
Spearheaded by the National Forest Foundation, Idaho Conservation League, Sawtooth Society and Sawtooth Interpretive and Historical Association, the project goal is to restore the central Idaho landscape to its pre-pandemic state.
The cities of Sandpoint and Priest River, in addition to the Kootenai-Ponderay Sewer District, were flagged for water quality violations, according to an annual report produced by the Idaho Conservation League.
The Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer is a critical drinking water source for southern and eastern Idaho. More than 300,000 Idahoans rely on the natural underground storage to provide clean, safe water every day. But due to a combination of farming and agricultural practices in the Magic Valley, the water source is in danger of contamination.
A new group called the Wood River Valley Wildlife Smart Communities Coalition is working toward some solutions. The coalition is made up of representatives from Fish and Game, the Idaho Conservation League, the national forest, and local cities including Ketchum, Hailey, and Sun Valley.
“As long as there are 425,000 dairy cows here there’s going to be 50 million pounds of dairy waste a day and we’re going to have to figure out something to do with that,” Johnson said. “It’s not all on the dairy industry, but at least some of it is.”
Idaho’s national forests have a $528 million maintenance backlog, according to the Idaho Conservation League. The Nez Perce-Clearwater and Idaho Panhandle forests in North Idaho lead the nation in backlogs.
("Avista) is accounting for the social cost of carbon - or the cost of climate change - for its Washington customers, but not its Idaho customers."
"We think Avista needs to be looking a little harder and with more creativity and more urgency to reduce their carbon emissions quicker."
The struggle over pesticide regulation has simmered for years, and it has recently begun to boil over. Pesticide-related accidents can compromise the health and safety of agricultural workers, but one Idaho group has lobbied the State of Idaho to loosen the rules surrounding them and increase reliance on federal enforcement—much to the chagrin of advocacy groups.
It’s one of the most iconic views in Idaho: the scenic vista of the Sawtooth Mountains from Stanley, part of a national recreation area and a dark-sky reserve. But the Idaho Department of Lands is preparing to issue a lease for a giant, 195-foot-tall cell tower on top of a 300-foot ridge smack in the middle of that view, over the objections of the local county commissioners, the mayor of Stanley, the Sawtooth Society, the local search and rescue operation, and hundreds of local residents, business owners and visitors.
Fishery experts acknowledge recent good water years have played a significant role in the trout rebound. But they also give credit to a collaboration of mining companies and conservation groups that has worked closely with Caribou County ranchers, called the Upper Blackfoot Confluence.
Justin Hayes: "By recognizing our diverse interests and working together, we can bring back Idaho’s fish and support communities — ensuring a brighter future for all the people of Idaho and the region. I hope you’ll join us."
Idaho Falls Post Register (also ran in the Idaho Mountain Express, Idaho County Free Press, Sandpoint Reader, and Idaho Press)
Randy Fox said he would like to see the Forest Service analyze more thoroughly how mining activities could affect the fish. For instance, he said use of groundwater for drilling could potentially lower the water table, and reduce stream flows.
"My group is very committed to saving Idaho Salmon," said Hayes. "We believe that will require removing dams. But we are equally committed that as salmon recovery goes forward, communities in Idaho Washington and Oregon are kept whole and made better."
He was as at home in a meeting of ranchers, miners or loggers as he was at the annual Wild Idaho conference of the Idaho Conservation League at Redfish Lake. He was most comfortable in his role as moderator in forums where westerners of both traditional cultures and environmentalists gathered together.
The new ruling Monday shuts down drilling at least until the Forest Service completes its groundwater analysis at Dog Bone Ridge and issues new approval documents. That requires a public process with comment periods.
“Instead of this being a discretionary action, we believe that such a design review would be a reasonable requirement coming from the state and federal agencies to the mine owner given the changed circumstance of a recent earthquake of that magnitude roughly 30 miles from the mine site,” the ICL stated in a letter dated April 27.
“We support forest restoration activities that are wisely implemented, and we are working through the Boise Forest Coalition to help ensure all activities associated with the project are designed in such a way to help meet those goals,” (Randy Fox) said.
As more and more people are getting outside amid the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s important to remember to stay local, keep your distance from others, avoid unnecessary risks, and be respectful to Idaho’s public lands and each other.
“A really strong argument can be made actually, that if we don’t save salmon, then electricity rates will really go up. So figuring out how to save salmon and replace the electricity that’s generated by these dams in an economical and efficient way, that’s the sweet spot,” said ICL executive director Justin Hayes.
...Conservationists like the Idaho Conservation League’s Brad Smith believe that snowmobilers need to be more conscious of where they ride when they enter areas where sensitive species, like wolverines, are known to roam.
“Taking polluted surface water out of the Snake River and funneling that down into the aquifer is a concern and something that deserves some closer scrutiny from the state,” said Jonathan Oppenheimer, Idaho Conservation League’s director for its Snake River campaign.
Although the Bog Creek Road is relatively short, it bisects an important chunk of grizzly habitat – the Blue-Grass Unit. About 25% of all grizzly sightings in the Selkirks have occurred in this unit, Smith said.
The council is making the request at the urging of the Idaho Conservation League because it would provide the public an avenue for involvement in the planning process. Moreover, a public hearing allows Avista to take the pulse of its customer base.
ICL and other Idahoans are watching Avista's plans for its coal-fired power plant at Colstrip in Montana very closely. “For Montana to demand that Idaho customers stay on and pay more for power, that’s not fair,” (ICL's Matt) Nykiel said.
“The goal of this plan is to get fish off the endangered species list, that’s actually a pretty low bar,” said Justin Hayes, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League. “In Idaho, that means that this plan imagines if it were to succeed, success would look like 20,000 wild steelhead back to Idaho each year. Nobody in Idaho actually thinks that’s the right goal.”
“I’m disappointed but not surprised,” said Justin Hayes, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League at Boise. “It’s the sixth in a string of failed federal plans. It doesn’t waver from the status quo. It tweaks it, and quite frankly we know what status quo has been getting us — fish in decline. We’ve spent $17 billion and it’s not working. We need bold action and this plan doesn’t do that.”
Austin Walkins of the Idaho Conservation League also spoke in support of COMPASS’ bill, SB 1312. He said air pollution is increasing faster than growth in the Treasure Valley, largely because of drivers stalled in heavy traffic, and the region is “on the cusp” of violating national standards for ozone pollution.
"The proposal from the federal government really falls short," said Justin Hayes of the Idaho Conservation League. "It looks at a variety of options but it chooses one that is essentially tweaking the status quo."
I encourage everyone to take a hunters education course, regardless of your background or experience. Taking such a course through IDFG is a great way to get a grounding on hunting fundamentals, animal identification and outdoors skills. If nothing else, it’s valuable to know how to handle and be safe around firearms.
Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Idaho Conservation League summarized the analysis from the AG’s office, which raised serious concerns about how the bill would change the ability to enforce Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
“ICL made a good faith effort to resolve our concerns during the administrative process, but the Forest Service and the Border Patrol made it clear that they were not willing to budge. That leaves us with no other option than to put the issue in front of a judge.”
"We’re working with the Idaho Conservation League this year on a couple of events,...Our Rivers, Our Fish, Our Lives, the salmon narrative is pretty heavy. Back to back with that, we have one they’re calling The River Runners: Tales of the Big Water and Howling at the Moon,..."
“This project will reduce the amount of habitat available in the most important grizzly bear management unit in the Selkirk Recovery Zone,” said Brad Smith the North Idaho director for the Idaho Conservation League.
Although enhanced communications for first responders is an important function, the specific design and location of this tower would degrade treasured views and the core values of the SNRA (Sawtooth National Recreation Area).
“As we lost the last mountain caribous in North Idaho and in the Lower 48 States – it was really heartbreaking. I’d hate to see us also lose wolverines,” Smith said. “As we lose more and more species, we lose more and more cogs in our ecosystem. It can have a cascading effect.”
"We can not be tweaking what we are already trying, we are really going to have to double down as a state, as a region, and come up with plans that are bigger in scale than anything that has ever been done before."
Three conservation organizations, including the Idaho Conservation League, are asking the (Idaho PUC) to extend the locked-in rates to anyone who signs on with home solar power between now and whenever new rates for future customers are set.
Right before Christmas, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission rejected a proposed settlement agreement that would have changed how folks with solar panels are paid for the excess power generated at their homes. We talk with Idaho Power CEO Darrel Anderson and Ben Otto of the Idaho Conservation League about who wins under the current policy, and what it means for the future of solar power in Idaho.
Ben Otto, an energy associate with the conservation league, said in the statement: “We look forward to working publicly with all stakeholders to finish the job of calculating all the benefits additional solar can bring to Idaho.”
"For a long time, Avista and other utilities have seen Colstrip to be operating into the 2040s. What's significant is although Avista is not saying retirement of the plant is at 2025, they're saying we will have paid it off by 2025."
Salmon and steelhead swim about 900 miles up the Columbia, Snake and Salmon rivers to arrive in the Sawtooth Valley. “Any salmon that makes it up that far doesn’t need to get sucked into an (irrigation) ditch or run into a dry creek,” said Marie Callaway Kellner of the Idaho Conservation League.
"I'm very hopeful that when we come together and talk about what we hope to accomplish, our concerns, the needs of the communities that we represent, and the needs of the fish, I think we're going to come up with some good suggestions and recommendations for the governor."
Kaleb Churchwell, a OneStone student who made paintings for the show, focused on the idea that mining is "taking the heart out of the mountain," and enjoyed learning about the natural, geological and community impacts of a mine.
“Idahoans who chose to invest early in their energy freedom should not have the rules changed after the deal is done. Changing the math now is unfair and penalizes those who are leading Idaho into a clean energy future.”
“One case that they (ICL) often don’t make directly themselves—and what I think is kind of my job as artist in residence—is to make the case for conserving land from an aesthetic point of view. It’s worth protecting the natural world simply because it’s beautiful."
Idaho Conservation League Executive Director Justin Hayes is a member of the workgroup. He said that he feels good about the collaborative process, but emphasized the situation is dire. “(These species) are going extinct, and, at this rate, will be gone in our generation,” Hayes said.
“How can we give the counties the financial resources and certainty they need to keep their schools and roads open, and also look at the public land and try to protect the special places and special waterways?” Smith said.
"You put a solar system on your house, and if you produce an extra kilowatt hour, Idaho Power pays you a credit for the same price as what you would pay to buy from them. We think that was fair," Otto said.
The same kind of collaborative process is going to be necessary to save Idaho’s wild salmon and protect wheat shippers, farmers and Snake River communities, Crapo said. . . Especially if breaching dams is part of that discussion.
Hydropower is no longer the Northwest's cheapest energy, and if BPA wants to get its books in order, critics say, it should start by removing expensive and possibly money-losing assets like the four Lower Snake River dams from its books.
The (North Idaho) conservation lecture and dinner is named in honor of the late Scott Reed, who, along with his wife Mary Lou and others, co-founded ICL in 1973 to serve as a conservation voice at the Idaho Legislature.
John Robison, ICL's public lands director, said, "This mining project threatens not only our public lands and wildlife, but could also contaminate the water Idahoans drink and use for farming and ranching."
The Idaho Conservation League in 2018 filed a citizen enforcement lawsuit contending Poe was violating the federal Clean Water Act by dredging in critical habitat of protected steelhead, salmon and bull trout.
In May 2016, Judge Michael Simon . . . ruled that there were "significant deficiencies" with the agencies' focus on habitat mitigation. . . Jim Norton of the Columbia Rediviva project and the Idaho Conservation League put it another way. The agencies, he said, are "giving the region a mani-pedi when it is having a heart attack."
The state lists the Snake as impaired by phosphorus pollution and failing water quality standards. Our groundwater report also shows two-thirds of wells sampled in the Magic Valley have high levels of nitrate — some approaching harmful concentrations.
“From a practical matter, it doesn’t actually change anything on the ground right now in Idaho," said Marie Callaway Kellner, the Conservation Program Director for the Idaho Conservation League. She said the group is more concerned, however, about potential weakening of protections in the coming months.
“We are beginning a collaborative process, and I think people are still trying to feel out the boundaries of that process. I am hopeful we will keep it very broad and look at all the issues,” (Justin Hayes) said.
“Lake Pend Oreille is a crown jewel of the Gem State so ICL is concerned with the potential effects this massive expansion of rail infrastructure could have on our lake, our water and our way of life."
A land-use plan proposed in Ada County in 1976 would have regulated growth, urban sprawl and Foothills development. It was a controversial plan. It drew support from groups like the Idaho Conservation League.
“These numbers should alarm everyone who values healthy rangelands, including sportsmen, ranchers, conservationists, local businesses and rural counties,” John Robison said of the declining population numbers.
Idaho Conservation League Executive Director Justin Hayes, a panel member, questioned Little about appearing to take dam breaching off the table. But he also said Little forming the panel showed he cared about healthy salmon and steelhead populations.
“We thank Gov. Little for his leadership in convening a working group on salmon recovery and appreciate his invitation to participate. We look forward to working together with other stakeholders to find a solution for bringing healthy, sustainable populations of wild steelhead and salmon back to Idaho.”
“It looks like it is short-circuiting the public involvement process, and what we have learned is that projects and proposals that have more public involvement, public engagement and public buy-in end up being more durable and broadly supported,” said Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Idaho Conservation League at Boise.
You’d be shocked if the gas station tried to charge you more per gallon for using less fuel. Or the water utility raised your rates because you’re saving water. Yet, Idaho Power wants to do just that with Idahoans who create their own energy.
They were recommended by the Ketchum Sustainability Advisory Committee, . . . which consists of Councilwoman Courtney Hamilton, architect Rebecca Bundy, and Betsy Mizell, central Idaho director for the Idaho Conservation League.
Marie Kellner, water associate at the Idaho Conservation League, said the group does have some questions about the bill and hopes there would be adequate oversight over approving any new recharge efforts.
Volunteers from the Kaniksu Land Trust, Kinnickinnick Native Plant Society, Idaho Conservation League, and Bonner County Master Naturalists, along with students from a half dozen schools, put in 1,467 hours planting 20,813 native shrubs and trees.
Betsy Mizell, the executive director for Idaho Conservation League’s Ketchum office, started the program four years ago after she was dismayed to find burnt food packaging and aluminum foil in fire rings while hiking in the White Cloud Wilderness area north of Ketchum.
“When those bears were killed in 2017, it was pretty devastating,” said Betsy Mizell, who runs the Idaho Conservation League’s Ketchum field office. “This order will keep future wildlife alive, and educate people who use these forests. I think it’s very exciting.”
“Congressman Mike Simpson made the most important speech from an Idaho politician in 15 years,” Hayes said. “He understands fully the challenges that all Idahoans face in working to find a solution that saves Idaho salmon and steelhead while keeping everyone whole.”
Discussion reignited debate between motorized and nonmotorized recreationists; according to Josh Johnson, conservation associate at the Idaho Conservation League, the current administration falls squarely in favor of the former.
Marie Callaway Kellner, an attorney at the Idaho Conservation League, expressed disappointment in Tuesday’s decision, saying the conditions don’t do enough to protect the Boise River’s flood flows, which help maintain the fishery on the river.
President Donald Trump has nominated William Perry Pendley to lead the Bureau of Land Management. Pendley currently serves in that role on an interim basis. ICL's John Robison weighs in on the nomination.
"We have had interim committee's in the past, we have lots of different boards and commissions, and ultimately we see this as growing government," Jonathan Oppenheimer, with the Idaho Conservation League, said.
After about a year of regular meetings, officials say Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s workgroup on salmon and steelhead recovery is moving into a new phase of drafting policy recommendations. ICL's Executive Director Justin Hayes weighs in.
Payette Lake is a getaway destination for many Idahoans and people from throughout the Northwest. But the future of the land surrounding the lake could soon look different. A private investment company wants to swap land with the state. If approved, the company would get 28,000 acres in Valley County and the state would more profitable timberland up in North Idaho.
Although virtual, the meeting attracted over 200 attendees who learned about ICL’s priority campaigns, financial position, board updates, the nonprofit’s vision for the future, and this year’s award winners.
“Based on the court’s decision, the Forest Service has to take a step back and do a more thorough review of the project’s likely impact on habitat, wildlife and clean water. It also means public involvement in the review.”
“I’m very encouraged and supportive of the Port of Lewiston, regional utilities and others asking our elected leaders to support and move forward with a real solution that will bring back Idaho’s fish."
We need to consider immediate fixes to stem extinction and also mid- to long-term solutions to fully restore Idaho’s fish to abundance. . . we have to discuss all the 4 Hs and ocean conditions and predators when we consider our policy recommendations.
"We look forward to working with other members to advise on active public lands management projects and ways to reduce wildfire risk to communities, create and sustain jobs, and improve the health of Idaho’s forests and watersheds.”
“This is our fourth meeting and workgroup members are now comfortable with each other and coalescing. That’s an important step in working together in a collaborative way to find lasting and agreed upon solutions.”
“The Cecil D. Andrus - White Clouds Wilderness is such a beautiful area in Central Idaho. It’s fitting that it bears Andrus’ name because he did so much to protect these and other public lands throughout Idaho and the U.S.”
Polluting companies should be held accountable for their own actions, instead of burdening hard-working families and taxpayers, especially when public health and safety are threatened by toxic and hazardous waste.
ICL sued the Forest Service for its failure to protect endangered salmon, steelhead and bull trout from impacts associated with 20 water diversions in the Sawtooth Valley. A federal judge ruled in favor of ICL on June 17.
"We are extremely pleased with this result. ICL and its partners, the Idaho Chapter of the Sierra Club and Conservation Voters for Idaho, look forward to continuing our work with city officials on achieving these ambitious goals.”