- Flooding and Erosion
- Fence Mortality
- Livestock Trespass
- Weeds and Invasive Species
When we acquired the property, it was affected by past use, principally for grazing cattle and raising hay. This resulted in many problems for native plants, soils, streams and springs, and wildlife. Livestock had grazed native bunchgrasses to the point of their elimination. Seedings for hay had introduced aggressive non-native grasses such as smooth brome and crested wheatgrass that replaced native bunchgrasses and flowers. Aspen shoots were grazed and eliminated, reducing recruitment to the point that the aspen forests were dying out. Streams and springs had wide and shallow channels, lacking vegetation cover for stream temperature regulation, or pools for spawning fish. Banks were bare and eroding, stream bottoms were covered with silt. Gullies formed in uplands were lowering the water table, further drying the soils and leading to the loss of native plant communities. Weeds and invasive species such as Canada thistle, cheatgrass and other were proliferating. Flooding from the drainage system on the County road through the Preserve was causing gully formation, loss of wetland meadow areas and introducing weeds into the Preserve. Fish and wildlife suffered from these habitat alterations as well as competition for forage with livestock.
Along with restoration, our other major expense is building and maintaining fences to exclude livestock from adjacent private property and public lands. Idaho’s Open Range laws place this unfair burden on private property owners, amounting to an additional property tax and subsidy to livestock owners. Over the years we have spent an estimated $150,000 on fences.