November 11, 2014
Idaho Mining Companies and Conservation Groups Make Joint Presentation at National Symposium: Upper Blackfoot Confluence Presents Conservation Work at Wildlife Habitat Council
BALTIMORE, MD – The Upper Blackfoot Confluence (UBC) presented its work today at the Wildlife Habitat Council Annual Symposium in Baltimore. Keith Allred, the UBC facilitator, and Warren Colyer, Director of Trout Unlimited’s Western Restoration Program, discussed the history and structure of the partnership and reviewed its projects aimed at restoring the native Yellowstone cutthroat trout fishery and improving water quality on the Upper Blackfoot River. The UBC is a conservation partnership that includes three mining companies— Monsanto, the J.R. Simplot Company, and Agrium/Nu-West—who mine phosphate in southeastern Idaho. The partnership also includes two conservation organizations—Trout Unlimited and the Idaho Conservation League.
Allred discussed the group’s formation in early 2012 based on a shared commitment to restoring what historically had been a premier habitat for native Yellowstone cutthroat trout. The mining companies contribute several hundred-thousand dollars per year for conservation projects for which UBC then seeks matching grant funds. The five partners jointly chose the projects that will have the highest impact aided by environmental assessments conducted by Trout Unlimited. Allred also emphasized the importance of cooperation with other groups to the UBC’s work including partnerships with landowners like the Bear Lake Grazing Company and the Caribou Cattle Company and with government agencies like the U.S. Forest Service, National Resources Conservation Service, and Idaho Fish & Game.
Colyer reviewed UBC projects, including replacing old irrigation diversions with fish friendly structures; fencing cattle off of streams; and restoring stream banks, native vegetation, and meander patterns, that have opened 25 miles of historic spawning habitat and improved the health of the Upper Blackfoot River. Trout Unlimited does this type of cooperative conservation work across the West and is using its extensive experience and expertise to implement the projects selected by the UBC partners.
The Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) promotes and certifies habitat conservation and management on working lands through partnerships and education. The theme of this year’s Annual Symposium is “Celebrating Corporate Conservation.” The UBC was invited to present its work as part of the Tuesday morning panel discussion on “Protecting Species and Their Habitats.”
For more information on the Wildlife Habitat Council and its annual symposium: