BPA partnered with the Idaho Department of Fish & Game to protect the Market Lake property, 650 acres in eastern Idaho.
BPA’s land conservation efforts in fiscal year 2020 will provide long-lasting benefits for the Pacific Northwest through the protection of valuable fish and wildlife habitat. From October 2019 through September, 2020, BPA and its many partners protected 2,640 acres. That’s equal to more than 4 square miles or approximately 2,000 football fields.
Through its land conservation program, BPA funds efforts by states, tribes and regional conservation organizations to own and manage properties that support BPA’s fish and wildlife mitigation goals. In return, BPA receives a conservation easement or other real property interest ensuring the acreage remains forever protected as fish and wildlife habitat. This ratepayer-supported mitigation effort offsets the environmental impacts of maintaining and operating federal hydroelectric dams in the Columbia and Snake river basins.
Over the past 40 years, BPA’s fish and wildlife program has helped protect and enhance hundreds of thousands of acres across the Pacific Northwest. Each successfully-completed land acquisition requires strong collaboration and partnerships with external parties and a skilled internal cross-agency team. For additional background on the land acquisition program, see the “BPA land acquisition protects habitat for endangered, and beautiful, species” published here.
The 2,640 acres that BPA conserved in FY 2020 include 22 properties spread across BPA’s service territory. The protections placed on the land benefit a wide range of species, such as salmon and steelhead, westslope cutthroat and bull trout, which are all listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Wildlife such as beavers, bald eagles, elk, grizzly bears and migratory birds all benefit, as do native plants.
People can enjoy some of these protected properties for recreational activities like bird watching, photography and hiking while they explore mixed deciduous woodlands of oak and maple trees, savanna grasslands, prairies and evergreen forests.
Native plants and animals spent thousands of years adapting to niche geographic regions. By funding the land acquisition program and putting property into conservation easements, BPA shows its dedication to protecting the Northwest’s natural legacy and restoring habitat to its natural state.
To learn more about each of the land acquisitions, check out the Land Acquisitions Announcement page here.