Idaho Fish and Game Commission during its July meeting approved the purchase of three land parcels totaling 2,119 acres that will add to the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area in Eastern Idaho. Funding will be provided by Bonneville Power Administration under the Southern Idaho Wildlife Mitigation Memorandum of Agreement. Commission approval allows Fish and Game to proceed with the sales process, but does not determine when, or even if, the department eventually takes possession of the parcels.
This 240-acre property is located approximately 35 miles east of Idaho Falls and adjacent to the Tex Creek WMA.
The property contains valuable wildlife habitat in the Tex Creek landscape, particularly for big game populations. The property provides important transitional habitat for elk moving between Tex Creek WMA and National Forest lands and falls within an area with high abundance of elk during early winter big game surveys. This property also provides good summer and transitional habitat for moose, high-quality summer mule deer habitat, and sharp-tailed grouse winter habitat. Upper Tex Creek flows through the property and supports high-value riparian habitat.
The property borders the Tex Creek WMA and would connect to 2,000 acres of the WMA. The property connects through Idaho Department of Lands property to the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and also borders the proposed Tex Creek East acquisition.
The acquisition cost is $300,000 (appraised value),
This 719-acre property is located approximately 15 miles East of Idaho Falls.
The property contains valuable wildlife habitat in the Tex Creek landscape, including habitat for big game populations. The property provides sagebrush, conifer, aspen, and riparian habitat heavily used by elk moving between Tex Creek WMA and National Forest lands. This property also provides good summer and transitional habitat for moose, high- quality summer mule deer habitat, and sharp-tailed grouse winter habitat. Upper Tex Creek and its tributary, Peterson Creek, flow through the property. Associated riparian habitat is in very good condition and supports active beaver colonies and riparian dependent wildlife.
The property abuts the Tex Creek WMA for 2 miles and will enhance access to 2,000 acres of the WMA. It also connects the WMA with Idaho State lands and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. The parcel would provide public access to thousands of contiguous acres currently fragmented by private ownership.
The acquisition cost is $885,225 (appraised value).
Deep Creek-Rack Brown property
This 1,160-acre property is located approximately 20 miles east of Idaho Falls and abuts the Tex Creek WMA.
The property contains important wildlife habitat in the Tex Creek landscape. Habitat is important for mule deer, moose, and upland bird populations. Mule deer from portions of six hunting units use the area as terminal winter range, and the property also provides transitional summer habitat and some fawning habitat. Columbian sharp-tailed grouse use of the property includes a recently documented lek. Intermittent and perennial reaches of Deep Creek run through the property and support high-quality riparian habitat within the Meadow Creek drainage.
Acquisition improves landscape contiguity within the WMA complex. The property connects an isolated parcel of the WMA with other public lands to create a large contiguous block of public land, which will enhance habitat management and support a high-quality hunting experience.
The acquisition cost is $1,770,000 (appraised value).
Tex Creek WMA is 15 miles east of Idaho Falls and a mix of state and federal lands managed by Idaho Fish and Game for wildlife habitat, hunting and other wildlife-related recreation. The WMA is currently about 35,000 acres before the addition of these properties.
Tex Creek WMA supports a wide variety of wildlife including Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, ruffed grouse, dusky grouse and Hungarian partridge as well as big game, furbearers, nongame species and birds of all kinds. During late fall and winter, upwards of 4,000 elk and 3,000 mule deer typically migrate to the WMA to spend winter.