For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 29, 2022 Contacts: Jonathan Oppenheimer, ICL External Relations Director, (208) 208-345-6933 x 226 Bryan Hurlbutt, Staff Attorney, Advocates for the West, (208) 342-7024 x 206 …
Opinion from ICL Climate Campaign Coordinator, Aly Bean: "In Idaho, we are experiencing impacts of climate change in the form of decreased snowpack, more rain-on-snow events, and warmer stream and air temperatures. Climate change is no longer an issue that our decision makers can push off for the future - it’s impacting Idaho today."
For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 22, 2022 Contacts: Whitney Palmer, Center for Biological Diversity Brad Smith, Idaho Conservation League, North Idaho Director Jonathan Oppenheimer, Idaho Conservation League, External Relations Director …
"The request filed earlier this week in U.S. District Court involves laws passed in the last five years that create a path through the Idaho Department of Water Resources for ranchers to take control of federal public land instream water rights through a state-approved forfeiture procedure."
Trout Unlimited, Idaho Fish and Game, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Idaho Conservation League gave the students an hour-long presentation on the fish and other wildlife in Trestle Creek, before guiding them to the shore where they could see dozens of the bright red fish as they fought for breeding grounds.
“Even if we come up with a big billion-dollar number, our constitution forbids us from sending a tax bill to Uncle Sam. I think all of this is a little exercise in futility to come up with a big, high number and wave it around in the air.” - Jonathan Oppenheimer, ICL External Relations Director.
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 14, 2022 Contacts: Stevie Gawryluk, Idaho Conservation League, Central Idaho Community Engagement Assistant Jonathan Oppenheimer, Idaho Conservation League, External Relations Director Volunteers …
“A group of snowmobilers, conservationists, guides, hunters, and other community members recently gave a thumbs up to a proposed winter recreation plan that, if approved, would affect about 1 million acres of national forest lands." - Brad Smith, ICL North Idaho Director
“The U.S. Fish and WIldlife Service’s biological opinion was unlawful since it failed to adequately analyze the effects of the project on a species threatened with extinction and on its critical habitat."
For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 8, 2022 Contact: Jonathan Oppenheimer, External Relations Director, (208) 345-6933 x 226 Idaho Conservation League launches new Wildlife Program, welcomes new staff members BOISE, ID …
The Idaho Conservation League’s Wilderness Stewardship Program fielded about 65 volunteers in Summer 2022 to patrol many of Idaho’s wilderness and roadless areas to clean up litter and human waste around camp sites, dismantle fire rings, and help educate wilderness users, among other things.
“It is exactly the type of problem that Idaho Conservation League, Project 7B, and the Lakes Commission perhaps anticipated when we originally submitted comments. I'm asking you to extend the process and have a robust public engagement process in this.” - Jennifer Ekstrom, ICL North Idaho Lakes Conservation Associate
"It’s easy today to take for granted the abundance of unspoiled and undeveloped lands that surround the Wood River Valley. But 50 years ago, federal protections didn’t exist as conservationists faced off against mining, ranching and development interests eager to access the region’s natural resources."
“The East Fork South Fork Salmon River is a special place that historically has been one of the most important habitats for summer chinook spawning in the entire Columbia River basin. We found some really big concerns regarding adverse effects to fisheries, particularly with increases to the temperature.” - John Robison, ICL Public Lands Director
ICL Salmon and Steelhead Associate, Mitch Cutter: “We agree that the dams’ most important services can and must be replaced, but time is of the essence. If we actually want to restore salmon and steelhead, Murray and Inslee must establish a concrete timeline for completing necessary studies and infrastructure improvements, deauthorizing the dams, and restoring the lower Snake River."
While Murray and Inslee's report recognizes that dam breaching is the best option for salmon recovery, they do not set a timeline to reach this goal. ICL's Salmon and Steelhead Associate, Mitch Cutter: “That sort of urgency was a little lacking from their recommendations,” he said. “That is something we are asking of them.”
For Immediate Release: Thursday, August 25, 2022 Contacts: Brad Smith, Idaho Conservation League, North Idaho Director, (208) 345-6933 x 403 Abby Urbanek, Idaho Conservation League, Communications Manager, (208) 345-6933 x …
Josh Johnson, ICL Senior Conservation Associate: “We filed a lawsuit the second time because we still didn’t feel like the Forest Service and (Excellon) had done enough to assuage concerns over those sensitive resources, so now we just have to wait for things to play out in the court."
"While county planning staff presented a map from the U.S. Geological Survey showing only a small stream on the western side of the 40 affected acres, Idaho Conservation League Lakes Conservation Associate Jennifer Ekstrom urged the board to reconsider the facts. 'I would strongly suggest that this commission would give greater weight to our local agency with boots on the ground.'"
"Idaho Power Company recently announced it was considering a ”transition” to a revised net-metering rate.The proposal drew criticism from environmental and consumer groups. The Idaho Conservation League said cutting the export rate in half would effectively make rooftop and other small-scale solar installations “financially unavailable” for many homeowners and businesses."
“'I think that we’re going to be seeing — if EPA complies with these timelines and what the science says — more stringent standards in Idaho,' said Justin Hayes, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League."
Idaho officials violated the federal Clean Air Act as well as the state’s regulations by issuing an air quality permit for a proposed gold mine in west-central Idaho, the Nez Perce Tribe and two conservation groups said.
Josh Johnson, acting Central Idaho director for the Idaho Conservation League, told the Express that ICL would be fighting the renewed proposal along with Advocates for the West and described AT&T’s effort to install a commercial tower as a “classic bait-and-switch.”
Josh Johnson, ICL Senior Conservation Associate: “..despite going through three rounds of public comment, this air quality permit still fails to address all of the health concerns the public raised, leading (Idaho Conservation League) and our partners to appeal the decision.”
ICL North Idaho Lakes Conservation Associate, Jennifer Ekstrom: "Contaminated surface water could also carry nutrients into the near shore area of Lake Pend Oreille. … Any additional nutrients will increase susceptibility to toxic algae blooms and weeds.”
ICL Conservation Program Director, Marie Kellner: "These are collective problems for all of humanity, and this decision made it that much harder for the states, the utilities, the regulators that had not yet made clean energy commitments," she said. "This allows them a little more time to be reliant on these fuels that are making people sick, and that are heating up the world."
Idaho is home to the best salmon habitat remaining in the lower 48. Our high mountain rivers can act as a stronghold against the effects of climate change, if salmon are able to come home safely. This can only be achieved by providing the most favorable and consistent river migration conditions possible.
"If dam removal is not part of the strategy it won't work in order to save those salmon we need to remove those dams and we need to do that pretty soon," said Justin Hayes of the Idaho Conservation League, who applauded the reports from the White House.
Jonathan Oppenheimer, ICL External Relations Director, “Part of the reason we are seeing such growth in the West is accessibility to these public lands,” he said. “If there is more pressure to sell off or privatize public lands, it will have a negative impact on these growing communities.”
ICL Conservation Program Director, Marie Kellner: "Here in Idaho, we're moving in the right direction and I actually don't have a lot of concern that this opinion is going to change or reverse that direction, because the the market's already making it happen," she said. "We're moving in that way."
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, July 12, 2022 Contacts: Justin Hayes, Executive Director (208) 345-6933 x 224 Abby Urbanek, Communications Manager, (208) 345-6933 x 214 White House reports confirm lower Snake …
"I urge readers to call Sen. Crapo’s office and ask him how he wants to be remembered by today’s youth for restoring the wild Lower Snake River and bringing our salmon home or damming these fish, and everything they mean for our communities, to extinction."
Brad Smith, ICL's North Idaho Director: “We are in a kind of a make-or-break moment. And we have a chance to protect the wolverine and make sure future Idahoans can also see the wolverine when we recreate in the mountains of Idaho, but if we don’t act soon, our children and grandchildren may not get to have that chance."
“The Kilgore Project site is also home to individuals and habitat for numerous special-status and at-risk terrestrial species of wildlife and plants, including grizzly bear, wolverine, lynx, elk, whitebark pine, and others found in the Centennial Mountains."
Mitch Cutter, ICL's Salmon and Steelhead Associate: “The Snake River and its tributaries is a stronghold for salmon against the effects of climate change. Similarly, our energy system can become a stronghold through development of diversified, clean energy resources."
Randy Fox, ICL’s West Central Idaho Conservation Associate: “We owe a debt of gratitude to these community leaders, who care so deeply about protecting the public lands and pristine waters that we all must share and steward.”
John Robison, ICL's Public Lands Director: “This is a chance for the Fish and Wildlife Service, now that we have a level playing field, to go review the best available science and actually proceed based on the facts,” Robison said.
The Idaho Club must secure a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers in order to proceed with dredging and filling wetlands. The Idaho Conservation League and the Center for Biological Diversity will closely monitor the Corps’ permitting process and do everything we can to protect Trestle Creek and its fish and wildlife.
Brad Smith, ICL's North Idaho Director: “It’s time to take action. In my time working in conservation in Idaho, I’ve watched us lose our last caribou in the Lower 48. It would be tragic if we saw wolverines lost in the same way.”
Jervois officials joined with the Idaho Conservation League last year to begin the effort and committed to giving away $150,000 a year for as long as they operate in Lemhi County. Projects eligible for funding must be focused on protection and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat in the Upper Salmon basin.
For Immediate Release: Friday, May 27, 2022 Contacts: Perry Wheeler, Earthjustice, 202-792-6211, firstname.lastname@example.org Joseph Vaile, KS Wild, 541-621-7808, email@example.com Jake Bleich, Defenders of Wildlife, 202-772-3208, firstname.lastname@example.org Collette Adkins, Center for …
Guest Opinion by ICL's Salmon and Steelhead Associate, Mitch Cutter: "Restoring a free-flowing Snake River would ‘unlock’ the vast potential of Idaho’s salmon stronghold, and put Chinook on a real pathway to abundance. The time has come to bring back the Kings of Idaho."
Josh Johnson of the Idaho Conservation League, a mining watchdog for almost 50 years, can’t help but point out that the only thing physically separating Jervois Global’s soon-to-open mine from the shuttered Blackbird is a single mountain. “The best we can hope for is responsible mining,” he says. “That’s what we hear a lot from the mining companies. You talk that you can have a modern mine that has minimal impacts? Well, let’s see it.”
A visit to Black Magic Canyon shows you how it earned its name. This unusual hidden canyon was carved by the Big Wood River over the last 10,000 years, and offers amazing views – twisting, smooth, black lava rock that features small arches, windows, holes and more.
Community owned solar gives control over energy production back to the people. It grows our clean energy portfolio and promotes a resilient electric grid. Most importantly, it represents an innovative, democratic, and just way forward for electricity generation in our changing economy and environment.
For Immediate Release: Friday, April 22, 2022 Contacts: Abby Urbanek, Communications Manager, (208) 345-6933 x 214 Stevie Gawryluk, Central Idaho Community Engagement Assistant, (208) 345-6933 x 302 Randy Fox, West …
For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 21, 2022 Contact: Abby Urbanek, Communications Manager, (208) 345-6933 x 214 Will Tiedemann joins Idaho Conservation League as Conservation Associate BOISE, ID – The Idaho …
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 19, 2022 Contacts: Ben Otto, Energy Associate, Idaho Conservation League, (208) 345-6933 x 212 Abby Urbanek, Communications Manager, Idaho Conservation League, (208) 345-6933 x 214 …
"Those working to restore salmon and the communities and wild places that depend on them have been very upfront about wanting to work with those whose lives and jobs are tied to the dams. Salmon, orca, and Tribal justice advocates are committed to making all communities whole – those who have been reaping the benefits of the dams and those who have borne the costs."
"Justin Hayes of the Idaho Conservation League at Boise, said he is happy the administration recognizes a new strategy is needed. 'They are saying we cannot continue business as usual,' Hayes said. 'That is something many people in the region have been saying — tribes, conservation groups, fishing groups and even industry groups — that the status quo is not working and it’s time to do something very different.'
ICL's Youth Salmon Protectors headed to Garfield Elementary School in Boise to teach students about the impact of dams on salmon populations and ways that we can help salmon recovery. "The students listed different reasons they cared about the salmon. Tinsley McQueen, a fifth grade student in the class, wrote about orcas. 'I care about the salmon because they are important to the ecosystem, and the orcas are not breeding because they eat the salmon and there’s not enough,' 10-year-old Tinsley wrote."
“Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and go to work,” said Brad Smith, the North Idaho director of the Idaho Conservation League and a member of the working group. “I think what is important here is we all like to use the forest, but we can’t forget about wildlife. Winter is a particularly hard time for them, and they don’t have a voice in this process.”
The Idaho Conservation League opposes the bill and said any required updates to energy conservation codes, including the implementation of new technologies, pay off and help consumers. “It helps keep our monthly utility payments low by ensuring we are adopting these news standards and new codes,” said Jonathan Oppenheimer, the external affairs director.
Josh Johnson, Central Idaho conservation associate with the Idaho Conservation League, identified drought, human-wildlife coexistence, responsible recreation and responsible development as four main challenges for county residents. “We are not separate from the natural environment, and that’s a gift for us but it is also a responsibility,” Josh Johnson said.
"Methane is huge," said Aly Bean, a climate coordinator with the organization. She said if the dairy industry wants to reach greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050, it has to start taking action somewhere. ICL also said there's lots of opportunity in Idaho to capture methane that would otherwise be released into the environment.
George Blackmon was one of the thousands to come to Idaho during the gold rush. "He was a long-time fixture and a miner and a prospector in the White Clouds and with someone who grew to prominence in the area," Hayes said. "I think that's indicated by fact that they named a peak after him."
“Not adopting some of these sustainable practices isn’t a lack of desire, honestly, it’s just not economically feasible for them to do so,” said Aly Bean, a climate coordinator with the Idaho Conservation League. She said ICL is looking into how the Idaho Legislature could incentivize beneficial soil health practices like planting cover crops, perhaps by dedicating funds to local soil and water conservation districts.
Jonathan Oppenheimer, external relations director for the Idaho Conservation League, testified against the legislation Tuesday. “While we recognize that there has been forward progress relative to vehicle emissions, we remain concerned that it’s premature to remove some of these requirements,” Oppenheimer said.
Ben Otto, of the Idaho Conservation League, said landfill gas projects are safer than traditional forms of extracting methane as natural gas fields, which often are from fossils. “There’s a lot of leaking that occurs, there’s fracking and a lot of water quality issues that come from drilling deep into the ground for gas,” Otto said.
On February 3, a bipartisan bill that would help tackle problems left behind by abandoned hardrock mines was introduced in the U.S. Senate. The Idaho Conservation League (ICL) is pleased to see this effort to address the pollution leaking from hundreds of thousands of abandoned mines, most of which are in the West.
The Idaho Conservation League (ICL) and Jervois Mining USA Limited (Jervois) are pleased to announce a request for proposals for the 2022 funding cycle of the Upper Salmon Conservation Action Program (USCAP). There is $150,000 available in the 2022 funding cycle for qualifying restoration projects.
Idaho wildlife officials on Thursday approved expanding trapping for river otters despite widespread opposition. John Robison of the Idaho Conservation League called the commission’s decision to expand river otter trapping baffling. “Decisions like these tend to alienate large swaths of the public, just at a time when Fish and Game needs more volunteers, partners, and supporters than ever before to accomplish their mission.”
Commentary from ICL's former Executive Director, Pat Ford: "I hope Murray and Inslee come see the Middle Fork this spring. If they come, they will remember. They will also better know what Idaho mountain salmon can do for people, justice, orcas, and resilience in Washington, if the lower Snake River is freed."
"The success in the Skagit watershed provides an important stepping stone to achieve bilateral transboundary watershed protections but we need to start thinking about these issues on a much wider scale, not individual puzzle pieces,” said Ellie Hudson-Heck, Conservation Assistant with the Idaho Conservation League.
“Do we have a moral obligation to mine cobalt here in the U.S.?” asks Idaho Conservation League Executive Director Justin Hayes. He suggests that the answer is yes: He’s well aware of the human-rights abuses documented in the Congo, and of the need to secure a reliable supply of cobalt in order to reduce the threat of climate change.
"We don’t need another study or long process that only runs down the clock toward extinction. The science is clear: we must breach the dams within the next 10 years or wild salmon and the 137 animals which depend on them, thousands of years of tribal culture, will all be lost."
"These elected officials have shown that they don’t want to even come to the table and talk about dam breaching or engage in conversation with their constituents. I encourage Idaho politicians to take youth voices seriously, especially when robbing us and our descendants of once-renowned wild salmon and steelhead."
"In my family, we believe that God created everything that is beautiful about the world. He put water in the rivers and oceans and he planted the forests that line their banks. He created the orcas to swim in the oceans and the eagles to fly in the sky. And then he created the salmon to connect all of these things."
"I believe that the spirit of Idaho lies in its wildlife. The salmon and steelhead are crucial to preserve the spirit of the beautiful wildlife in Idaho. If we kill the fish, we kill the precious spirit of our beloved state."
"My grandpa grew up hunting and fishing in Idaho. Redfish Lake was a sacred place for him. He would always tell me stories about these beautiful fish painting the streams red as they returned to their spawning grounds to die."
"I’m so excited that Congressman Simpson has given the Northwest a chance to save the salmon. I’m asking Sen. Mike Crapo to support Congressman Simpson’s Columbia Basin Initiative and breach the four Lower Snake River dams."
"Idaho youth activists are making their voices heard once again, this time in regards to Rep. Mike Simpson’s (R-Idaho) Columbia Basin initiative that would ensure funding is set aside in the federal infrastructure bill to breach the four lower Snake River dams in order to save the state's dwindling wild salmon population."
"I care about wild salmon and steelhead because the rivers that bring abundance to my home state depend on them. The outdoors are what make Idaho great. I‘ve grown up swimming, rafting, and fishing, and I can’t imagine generations after me not being able to do the same."
"Decades ago, Crapo was influential in protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands and the Boulder-White Clouds. I only wish he was still willing to take bold action and find common ground with his colleagues across the aisle when so much hangs in the balance."
The Idaho Conservation League (ICL) today filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Forest Service for failing to comply with environmental laws when it approved the 20-year “Sage Hen Integrated Forest Restoration Project.”
"The impact of climate change in Idaho will present challenges and opportunities to all sectors of our economy – from agriculture to recreation and tourism, energy, human health, infrastructure and land – according to a series of reports prepared by Idaho researchers."
“One of the core things being studied for the new program is whether there should be a difference between what you pay to consume and the value of that export from your roof,” said Ben Otto, an energy associate with the Idaho Conservation League.
“In addition to creating serious water contamination and public health concerns, this ‘land applied’ manure is left to release methane into the atmosphere,” the ICL stated. “Capturing and burning this methane rather than letting it freely escape not only reduces the climate impact but also releases about one half the carbon dioxide as burning coal.”
“It’s not to say we don’t sympathize with the counties, but from our perspective we don't see a whole lot of value in having a big number you can wave in the air," said Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Idaho Conservation League. "It really won't make much of a difference.”
It also serves as a meeting point for the Wildlife Smart Communities Coalition—an ongoing effort between Blaine County and its cities, Fish and Game, the U.S. Forest Service, the BLM and Idaho Conservation League to promote human-wildlife coexistence.
Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) released a joint statement formally announcing a “federal-state process on salmon recovery in the Columbia River Basin and the Pacific Northwest.”
The Idaho Conservation League joined other plaintiffs, the Nez Perce Tribe, the State of Oregon, and federal defendants to file a request for a stay in the long-running litigation associated with the continued operation of Snake and Columbia River dams and their effect on threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.
The Idaho Conservation League, which raised concerns about the course expansion last December, celebrated the about-face in a note to supporters. The organization said more than 3,500 people signed a petition urging stakeholders to reject any applications the River Club submitted.
“The message we got back was the Pacific Northwest Democrats didn’t think it was enough of a priority for the Administration to advance it at that time,” says Justin Hayes, the executive director of Idaho Conservation League, who was briefed on the White House meeting.
“A lot of good work has already been done on this topic in the region, so there is no need to start from square one,” the group’s executive director, Justin Hayes, said. “I encourage Inslee and Murray to use all that Mike Simpson has already advanced as the starting point, and I hope Inslee and Murray will actually work with Congressman Simpson so that together they can develop legislation that implements these needed actions.”
On October 14, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced that he and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) are actively working on a “Salmon Action Plan” process to save Idaho’s wild salmon and steelhead from extinction.
“A reversal of Montana’s recently adopted selenium standards for Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River would jeopardize Montana’s ability to meet downstream water quality standards in Idaho,” said ICL's Ellie Hudson-Heck.
“I think it shows that lawmakers are trapped in the past, just like the Bonneville Power Administration is,” Justin Hayes, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League, said of the credit limit increase.
“Most of the cobalt mined globally comes from places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo or China,” he said. “There is value to having a domestic source of cobalt if it’s done responsibly, which is why the ICL has watched this project for over a decade now to make sure that regulations and protocols are in place to protect the environment.”
An annual report finds poor groundwater quality continues to be an issue for the Magic Valley. The Idaho Conservation League analyzed state and federal data and research on agriculture pollution in the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer for the third year in a row.
"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.”