Idaho Panhandle Bees to Bears Climate Adaptation Project
The Idaho Panhandle Bees to Bears Climate Adaptation Project is restoring 250 acres of forested lowland habitat to improve landscape climate resiliency for 6 Species of Greatest Conservation Need on the Boundary-Smith Creek Wildlife Management Area.
Idaho’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) outlines climate adaptation conservation actions for forested lowlands and associated Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in Idaho’s Kootenai Valley. From 2018-20 we are implementing a project to restore ecological function to 250 acres of forested lowland on Idaho’s Boundary-Smith Creek Wildlife Management Area. Climate specific actions include: 1) Restoration of ephemeral flood cycles to benefit western toads (Anaxyrus boreas) and Northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens), 2) creating topographically altered pollinator habitat to provide cool-air refugia for Western (Bombus occidentalis) and Suckly's Cuckoo (Bombus suckleyi) bumblebees, and 3) reforestation with 60,000 native trees and understory plants to provide cover grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and improve soil moisture content and reduce air temperatures for pale-jumping slugs (Hemphillia camelus). Engagement of volunteers from the local community as citizen scientists is a project priority. This project, a collaboration between Fish and Game and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, will serve as an example of pro-active conservation actions which will assist species adaptation to climate change.
The Kootenai River Valley spans the Idaho-British Columbia Border. Prior to European settlement the valley hosted vast swaths of forested lowland habitat with ephemeral flood cycles. Settlement brought a century of row-crop agriculture and hydrologic management which changed the ecosystem. In 1999 the State of Idaho acquired the land parcel and the WMA is managed in under advisement from a local citizen advisory board. Waterfowl and big game production has dramatically increased under state management. Although focused on SGCN listed in Idaho's SWAP; Bees to Bears will continue to enhance hunting opportunities and public use of the WMA while benefiting the entire ecosystem.
Project is being implemented on Idaho Fish and Game's Boundary-Smith Creek Wildlife Management Area.
Bees to Bears is a partnership between Fish and Game and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. Ducks Unlimited is conducting the engineering design and Selkirk Outdoor Leadership and Education is assisting with citizen science implementation.
This project is funded by generous grants from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife Conservation Society Climate Adaptation Fund, and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Casey McCormack, Panhandle Regional Wildlife Diversity Biologist, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessie Grossman, Yellowstone to Yukon Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Corridor Collaborative Coordinator, email@example.com
Robert Akins, Boundary-Smith Creek WMA Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org