Land and wildlife managers hope initial efforts to construct a fence in the upper Jesse Creek area will protect a sensitive wetland in a watershed that serves as one of the main water sources for the City of Salmon.
Employees from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Salmon-Challis National Forest teamed-up on Thursday, Oct. 17 to build a fence at a sensitive wetland and a portion of the water source for the community of Salmon. Over 3,000 feet of fence was constructed to protect the unique wetland, referred to as a Fen. Fens are permanently saturated wetlands that provide important habitat for a diversity of wildlife, as well as provide important sources of drinking water.
Freezing rain, wind and snow could not stop the eager workers intent on protecting Salmon’s sensitive watershed. Employees from multiple disciplines including fisheries, wildlife, botany, fire and timber worked in teams to clear line, pound posts, stretch wire, and construct corner braces.
“There were some numb hands and cold feet, but everyone enjoyed working hard to protect something so valuable,” said Jeff Richards, Fish and Game staff biologist who coordinated the joint effort.
Fish and Game donated all fencing material and supplies, and the Forest Service fire crews donated their chainsaw expertise to clear brush and trees for the fence line.
In addition to the fence, other cooperative projects are planned for when weather allows to improve both the quality of water and the amount available. The Forest Service also plans to thin trees to reduce chances of wildfire in the municipal watershed.
“Our fuels and silviculture staff are currently working towards a silvicultural prescription and funding for project implementation. We recognize how important this project is for protecting our community and improving forest health”, said Kyra Povirk, Salmon-Cobalt and Leadore District Ranger.
“What a great start to a great project,” Richards added. “This is the first of many projects to help protect Salmon’s drinking water for current and future generations.”