Early this spring, Western Rivers Conservancy celebrated a major success in Idaho’s Sawtooth Valley when we conserved the 369-acre Goat Falls Ranch and transferred the ranch’s water rights to the state to keep them permanently in-stream. The effort will improve flows in two critical headwater tributaries of the Salmon River and add 369 acres to the spectacular Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
In Idaho’s scenic Sawtooth Valley, Western Rivers Conservancy has successfully purchased the 364-acre Goat Falls Ranch, which controls crucial water rights on Goat and Meadow Creeks, two key tributary streams of the Salmon River. Historically, these streams contained some of the highest density Chinook salmon rearing habitat in the Salmon River system. Due to habitat degradation and low in-stream flows, the creeks now harbor only a fraction of the salmon and steelhead they once did. During the critical seasons of late summer and fall, when stream flows are already low and rearing juvenile Chinook are most susceptible, portions of both creeks are reduced to only a trickle, or dewatered entirely.
The Grande Ronde River is a jewel in northeastern Oregon. It flows 182 miles from the Blue Mountains across an expansive agricultural valley and through several large canyons before meeting the Snake River just below Hells Canyon. In addition to breathtaking scenery, the Grande Ronde boasts excellent float trips, popular big game hunting grounds and one of the most productive salmon and steelhead fisheries in the Snake River basin. One of its lifeline tributaries is Catherine Creek, one of the most important salmon and steelhead producing tributaries in the entire Snake River basin.
This week, WRC launched a crowdfunding campaign to Save Blue Creek and complete a cold-water salmon sanctuary in the heart of the California Redwoods. We’re in the homestretch of conserving 73 square miles of land in partnership with the Yurok Tribe to save this all-important tributary to the lower Klamath River. Now, we need your help to bring this project to the finish line! To watch the video we made about this rare and wild place go to www.savebluecreek.com. Please donate to the campaign and, most importantly, help us spread the word through email, Instagram and Facebook. Together we can Save Blue Creek!
"As controversial legislation to remove dams in the Klamath Basin awaits congressional approval, the right to manage one of the river’s main tributaries and its most important salmon stream will soon be restored to the Yurok Tribe.
This month, some 6,479 acres along the middle reach of Blue Creek will be transferred out of Green Diamond Resource Company’s ownership as part of a plan to buy the entire 47,000-acre watershed and return it to Native American stewardship. Once the deal goes through, the Yurok Tribe will manage about 30,500 acres around Blue Creek, all acquired since 2011 through a partnership with Portland-based non-profit Western Rivers Conservancy.
Using a complex financing scheme, the conservancy will receive and hold the latest parcels for a seven-year period before selling to the Yurok Tribe, which takes over land management from the outset."