Project Profiles

The following articles highlight recent successful projects implemented by IWJV partners. Do you have a conservation project in the Intermountain West that you would like to profile? Email Hannah Ryan, IWJV Communications Specialist, at hannah.ryan@iwjv.org.

Fifteen years ago Johnny Pack sat across a table from three men who were about to buy his share of 500 verdant acres along the Rio Grande. Pack grew up farming and ranching in eastern New Mexico and had dreamed of starting a farm with three college...
In 2014, the IWJV launched the Southern Oregon–Northeastern California (SONEC) Working Wet Meadows Initiative to conserve flood-irrigated pastures and meadows. These working wetlands are the life-blood of both livestock producers and migratory...
This spring, biologists and volunteers across seemingly arid eastern Washington took to land and sky to better understand how migrating waterfowl use the area, particularly on private lands. Over 70 percent of the wetlands in the Intermountain West...
Oregon PBS recently spent some time in Harney County learning about the incredible conservation collaborations happening there between ranchers and wildlife groups. Called Cranes, curlews, and cows — the delicate debate over Oregon’s federal lands...
Wildlife including elk, mule deer, moose and greater sage-grouse enjoy stronger protections today, thanks to a conservation easement on the 1,268-acre Fenn Ranch. Also known as the Tyler Place, the property is near the town of Pinedale. The Fenn...
Pat and Sharon O’Toole make their living by ranching on the sagebrush sea along the Wyoming-Colorado border. They raise sheep and cattle, sage grouse and trout, as well as children and grandchildren on their Ladder Ranch. Not only are they leaders...
The Wyoming Bird Habitat Conservation Partnership met in the spring of 2016 in Casper, Wyoming. The meeting featured the latest updates on wetland habitat projects and planning in important landscapes like the Upper Green, Little Snake, and North...
Water is for fighting, not drinking. That proclamation has echoed through the West and only increases in its certainty. As we learn more about the wildlife values associated with flood irrigated hay and pasturelands, the IWJV and our partners have...
West Box Elder County is in the far northeast corner of Utah, just north of the Great Salt Lake. It features large tracts of desert solitude contrasted by high, forested mountains, and represents some of Utah’s best cattle country. Part of the...
By Erin Hendel and Nathan Korb, The Nature Conservancy in Montana The Centennial Valley is a place of sweeping sagebrush steppe and wetlands, embraced by the rugged peaks of the Centennial and Gravelly Mountains. Nearly 20 years ago, this valley in...
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting proposals for restoration projects under the Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Programs. Proposals are due before 4:00pm, PST on September 16, 2015. The Water Quality, Supply, and...
A new USDA-funded water conservation program runs contrary to conventional wisdom, rewarding producers who retain flood-irrigation systems rather than installing modern, efficient pivots. The Idaho Water Resource Board — the lead applicant on the...
In the “Old West”, barbed wire fences were often cut to allow trailing droves of cattle through. In the “New West,” livestock fencing is being marked to help reduce collisions for sage grouse and other wildlife. Sage grouse are...
By Sherry Liguori, PacifiCorp Avian Program Manager, and Hannah Ryan, IWJV Communications Specialist Birds and power lines may not seem like an intuitive mix but the electric utility company, PacifiCorp (which includes Pacific Power and Rocky...
By Susan Patla, Wyoming Game and Fish Department Nongame Biologist Trumpeter swans, the largest waterfowl in North America, have long been valued for their grace and beauty. More recently the resident population in the Intermountain West has proven...
By Alan Clark, Utah Department of Natural Resources Watershed Program Director In Utah, what do tamarisk removal, fish passage improvements, and sage grouse habitat restoration have in common? The answer is all of these types of projects...
A group stands around a restored spring in the southwest Nevada desert. Within this oasis, Killdeer flit around the shallows and a Yellow Warbler vocalizes from willows. Christiana Manville, a partner biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife...
By Steve Tessmann, Wyoming Game and Fish Staff Biologist and State Conservation Partnership Chair The Goshen Hole is an unassuming group of wetlands on the southeast border of Wyoming and western Nebraska. No iconic snow capped mountains grace the...
Throughout the past 20 years, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) has been honored to work with more than 240 ranching families across Colorado. Looking back at the last two decades, CCALT can celebrate numerous accomplishments...
Member of the Washington State Conservation Partnership, the Inland Northwest Land Trust has secured 150 acres destined to become an addition to the Reardan Audubon Lake Wildlife Area. Known as the Deep Creek property, this area is just east of the...
When asked why he makes conservation an integral part of his cattle operation, third generation rancher James O’Haco restates the simple mantra he said his grandfather lived by: “We just want to leave the land a little better for our children.” O’...
Land trusts are a key part of the conservation story in Oregon. Working with private, voluntary landowners from the coast to the high desert, valleys to ridge-tops across the state, land trusts play a vital role in keeping Oregon a special place....
From a hilltop vantage, members of the IWJV’s Management Board and State Conservation Partnership looked across the North Cottonwood Ranch near Daniel, Wyoming. For nearly as far as the eye can see, the group was witnessing over 15,000 acres of...
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has selected 15 wetland and riparian restoration projects that will share in $600,000 in grants for the 2014 Wetlands Program grant cycle.   Approved projects will restore and enhance more than 4,700 acres of...
Standing with members of the New Mexico congressional delegation, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that a diverse group of federal, state, and local partners and conservation groups supported by the Land and Water Conservation Fund...
By Terry Mansfield, IWJV State Conservation Partnership Coordinator, Washington It’s a breezy, late-March morning in eastern Washington and the sky is alive with thousands of waterfowl migrating north to their summer breeding grounds in Canada and...
By Holly Copeland, Landscape Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming Most people don’t readily think about wetlands and their value to wildlife in an arid state like Wyoming. However, 90% of the wildlife species in Wyoming use wetland and...
Understanding the role of habitat use, seasonal movement, and mortality to describe the winter ecology of the Rocky Mountain Population of Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis) in the middle Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico The Rocky Mountain Population...
The band-tailed pigeon inhabits mountainous terrain across its North American range making it difficult to obtain detailed life history information. During the late 1960’s through the 80’s, however, there was a great deal of effort invested by a...
A showy orchid waves lightly in the breeze from its foundation in a wet meadow. White, intricate blooms line its stem. This is a Ute Ladies’-tresses (Spiranthes diluvialis), a rare plant listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. It...
By Jim Stutzman, IWJV Habitat Delivery Specialist Human activity unquestionably alters a landscape. However, some human practices can mimic natural processes and create a mile-wide banquet hall for many a migrating bird. In northern California, a...
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (Partners Program) just marked its 25th Anniversary in 2012. After its inception in 1987 in the Prairie Pothole Region of the Great Plains, the Partners Program...
Many folks that live in the Flathead Lake area of northwestern Montana look forward to the annual melting of valley snow and the opening of our waterways and wetlands. One of many visible changes to the landscape, this spring thaw signals the first...
Swan Lake Nature Study Area is a playa lake that serves as an important site for migrating waterbirds, particularly Snow Geese and Tundra Swans and many resident species.  Various species, such as American Avocet, White-faced Ibis, and several...
Birds are sensitive to environmental change.  The history of bird conservation is ripe with examples of birds signaling landscape change or environmental contaminants.  In fact, birds often show population-level responses to change more quickly...
The Long-billed Curlew is an icon of the American prairie and intermountain grassland basins.  It is a relatively large, conspicuous shorebird found in short to moderate height grasslands.  The Intermountain West Regional Shorebird Plan considers...
The Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse was once considered the most abundant and well-known upland game bird throughout much of the Intermountain West. Currently, they inhabit less than 10% of their former range. About 75% (20,000-50,000) of the...
Ducks Unlimited, Inc. is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to replace two water control structures on the only managed wetlands within the Lake Walcott segment of the Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge in Idaho. Lake Walcott, located...
In 2011-2012, a working ranch in Gooding County, Idaho underwent a major bird habitat improvement project that enhanced 44 acres of wetlands and breached a floodplain dike along Clover Creek. The Clover Creek floodplain is directly upstream from...
In northeastern California, many of the working ranches that provide key habitat for waterfowl, waterbirds, shorebirds, and songbirds operate on shoe-string budgets. An unfortunate byproduct is that when critical infrastructure begins to fail,...
There is a saying in the arid west: Water is for fightin’ over, whiskey is for drinkin’. Here in Arizona, water is precious and any wetland, no matter how small, is a rare commodity that becomes a magnet for wildlife, livestock and people. On the...
In southeast Oregon, Joint Venture partners have created the Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative. This initiative works to a) implement a basin-wide carp control strategy and adaptive management to improve the health of wet meadows and other wetlands...
In recent years, the Washington State Conservation Partnership has placed emphasis on using the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) and Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) under the Farm Bill to conserve and restore key wetland habitats in...
Sagebrush. It’s an under-appreciated habitat that is essential for the Greater Sage-Grouse. Now more so than ever, this gangly bird is drawing attention as it is being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act. In 2010, the Natural...