The Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) has developed the Working Wetlands & Water in the West (Water 4) Initiative to support agricultural producers, water managers, and other partners with conservation on working lands in ways that matter to people, including improved forage production, high quality wildlife-associated recreation, enhanced groundwater recharge, and more resilient landscapes. Here is our vision for the Water 4 Initiative:
- Transfer and communicate lessons learned from the Southern Oregon-Northeastern California (SONEC) Working Wet Meadows Initiative – a proven model for wildlife and agriculture – to other focal landscapes.
- Catalyze proactive and strategic working wet meadows conservation using the latest decision support tools to assess the availability of habitat in space and time linked to the needs of key species.
- Identify new conservation opportunities and funding sources to support wet meadows conservation on working lands.
- Build partnerships among agricultural and conservation organizations.
- Catalyze communications to help the agricultural community tell the story of the value of working wet meadows in the Intermountain West.
The IWJV will work to secure and leverage funding to build the conservation delivery capacity at the landscape level, in key focal areas, as needed to achieve initiative objectives. Capacity building is a central IWJV tenet for meeting people where they are in rural communities of the West. Success will be measured through increased delivery of conservation outcomes that matter to priority species and people.
The initiative will emphasize work in specific focal areas. The following landscapes are existing models of an optimal mix of ecological and social elements based on migratory birds, wetland abundance, public-private landownership patterns, partnership spark and synergy, and investments at the local level: Southern Oregon-Northeastern California (including the Klamath Basin) region, Upper-Middle Rio Grande corridor, Eastern Idaho/High Divide region, and Bear River watershed.