wood river land trust Fall 2013
Protecting the heart of the valley...now and for the future.
Message from Trent Jones, President
Trent Jones, President.
s most of you know and so many of you experienced directly, Mother Nature presented our region with some major challenges this year. Low snowpack last winter, summer drought, major wildfires, and most recently river-choking mudslides have had serious effects on the landscapes and communities of south central Idaho and the Wood River Valley. As we approach the end of 2013, I am grateful to know that Wood River Land Trust is working with private and public partners to consider these events and develop strategies for addressing short term and long term impacts. With the natural world, we have to expect the unexpected. However, by working cooperatively and gaining a deeper understanding of the natural processes that shape our environment, we will be in a far better position to influence outcomes from these kinds of events. In this edition of the our newsletter, you will read about the Land Trust’s expanded partnership with Trout Unlimited to develop a more comprehensive view of the Big Wood River and its tributaries. Although the Big Wood represents a remarkable and resilient system, we recognize that we need a better sense of the condition of the river, the challenges it faces, and the strategies for addressing threats. The recently announced Home Rivers Initiative will provide a more detailed perspective on the health of the watershed to all of us with a stake in the Big Wood. Local resident and water expert, Wendy Pabich, joins us in this issue as our guest author. Wendy generously allowed us to republish her thought provoking essay addressing water use and conservation. Wendy’s experiences, as related in her 2012 book, Taking on Water, are an affirmation that each of us as individuals can make a difference in reducing the world’s collective consumption of earth’s most precious resource. I encourage everyone to pick up a copy of Wendy’s entertaining and insightful memoir and begin to consider their own personal consumption. Finally, on behalf of the Land Trust staff and Board of Directors, I would like to extend our well wishes to emeritus Board member, Heather King, and her family. The Kings suffered the terrible loss of their home north of Hailey as a result of the Beaver Creek fire, and all of us at the Land Trust have them in our thoughts as we do with everyone who was affected by the fire. As in nature, we hope that each of you is able to start afresh, having grown stronger as a result. Sincerely,
Big Wood River ©Michael Edminster
Big Wood River: Its Waters Sustain Us The Big Wood River is an extraordinary gem that provides life, value and enjoyment to our community. We see the river while driving through the Valley. Our families and dogs splash in the creeks on hot summer days. We fish in places that others only wish they could experience. We drink its water. There is much that we gain from the Big Wood River and its tributaries. If we are to continue reaping these benefits, we need to lend Mother Nature a helping hand. We are pleased to announce that Wood River Land Trust (WRLT) and Trout Unlimited (TU) are collaborating on a new initiative to protect and restore the Big Wood River to its full potential as a healthy river ecosystem and wild trout fishery. The partnership—called the Big Wood Home Rivers Initiative—aims to enhance and maintain the health of the Big Wood River and its tributaries through a longterm effort to restore habitat, reconnect tributaries to the main-stem, promote fish passage, and maintain critical instream flows.
“We are at a critical time for translating scientific knowledge into impact on a strategic and broad scale— creating a healthy and resilient watershed for the benefit of our community and that of fish and wildlife,” said Steve Strandberg, Board member of both TU and WRLT. “It’s important to our organizations and our donors that we leave a legacy of protected landscapes for future generations to enjoy as we do today.” The vision of the Home Rivers Initiative is to create sustainable river systems that provide ongoing benefits for local communities in the form of robust fisheries, resilient rivers, broad biodiversity, productive agriculture and working lands, and enhanced recreational opportunities. For decades these benefits have attracted people to Wood River Valley and enhanced the quality of life in our region. Now, however, these benefits are at risk due to growing threats to the watershed, ranging from the current drought conditions and the effects of climate change to population growth and inappropriate development. By proactively protecting the health of the Big Wood River
and its tributaries, we can help people and nature thrive. The after effects of the recent Beaver Creek fireâ€” including mudslides and siltationâ€”as well as low flows and elevated water temperatures are timely reminders that the Big Wood faces significant challenges. Human and natural occurrences have long-term effects on our fishery, our local economy and our wellbeing. Mudslides This past summer, we saw our clear, flowing river turn a murky, chocolate brown. Mudslides, also known as debris flows, usually start on steep hillsides as shallow landslides that then liquefy and accelerate to speeds that are typically around 10 miles per hour, but can exceed 35 miles per hour. As a result of mudslides, large amounts of earth and organic material enter watersheds. Although we do not yet know the impact on our natural resources from these recent mudslides, we do know that excess siltation is bad news for our rivers. Fine sediment loads on some streams can smother the bed of the waterway, killing off invertebrates and inhibiting fish egg incubation. These micro-
particles can affect fish directly by causing gill abrasion, reducing their ability to take-in dissolved oxygen needed to survive. Furthermore, siltation can act as a vehicle for certain pesticides and phosphates, which can cause pollution in our watershed. Drought Sometimes referred to a subtle, insidious natural hazard, drought is a normal part of the climate in virtually all areas of the world. Take the persistent drought affecting the Mississippi River, particularly at the mouth of the river where salt water from the Gulf has encroached into the fresh water river. The encroaching salt water is threatening industrial and municipal water intakes more than 60 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. Drought conditions not only affect the environment, but can also affect our social wellbeing. These effects range from: 1. Crop loss and income loss to farming families; 2. Increased cost of hydroelectric power; 3. Food cost increase; 4. Lack of food and drinking water for wildlife;
5. Loss of wetlands; 6. Migration of wildlife; and 7. Fewer recreational activities Our region has already experienced crop loss due to the current drought conditions. If we are to reduce the economic, environmental and social damages brought about because of changing weather patterns, we need to emphasize increased understanding and preparedness through conservation and water management. It is important that our community understand the impact of our actions on our river, as well as the appropriate mitigation actions and programs which can help our rivers. Solutions Through our river protection efforts, the Land Trust realized the need for a comprehensive strategy to deal with watershed issues. Now, with our partner Trout Unlimited, we can bring their national experience to bear on our regional issue. We hope that we can inform our community and make a collective difference through positive change. The Home River Initiative effort will first focus on a comprehensive assessment of the Big Wood River system. Once complete, the assessment will guide and prioritize future restoration efforts and resources, translating to on-the-ground habitat improvements, functional tributaries, and responsible land and water use.
Additionally, the Land Trust’s Trout Friendly Lawn (TFL) program works to educate homeowners and business owners about how their lawn care choices and landscaping practices affect the health of the Big Wood River. Working collaboratively with landscaping businesses and other organizations, the TFL program promotes: 1. Water conservation; 2. Chemical reduction; and 3. Native plant use.
Working Together to Accomplish More
Partnership is the key to achieving the goals of the Home Rivers Initiative, Trout Friendly Lawns and subsequent conservation efforts. WRLT works with numerous partners, including Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and Blaine County to facilitate the vision of a protected landscape in the region. These organizations meet frequently and work together for the betterment of our river and local community.
For more information about either of these programs, please contact the Land Trust or visit our website at www.WoodRiverLandTrust.org. We know that broad, connected landscapes and healthy watersheds are essential to the survival of plants, wildlife and humans. Our partnerships—with you and other organizations—are key to carrying out a cohesive, conservation vision for the betterment of those of us here now and those who follow.
Photos clockwise from far left: Siltation from recent mudslides at the confluence of Big Wood River and Warm Springs ©Steve Dondero; Community School Kindergarten 2012 at Croy Creek Wetlands Boardwalk ©Daphne Muehle; Fishing Silver creek during brown drake hatch ©Daphne Muehle
Water Wise Choices •
Skip the second cup of coffee as it takes 37 gallons to make just one.
Eating healthy isn’t just good for the heart. It takes 49 gallons of H20 to make one bag of chips, but only 18 gallons to grow an apple.
A leaky faucet can waste 20 gallons per day so be sure to fix your drips.
Change to a low-flow toilet, which can save 25 gallons a day.
Choose an efficient six-gallon washer, which can save 1,250 gallons of water per year.
It takes 1.5 gallons to make the average plastic bottle, so carry a reusable one with you.
Plant native and drought tolerant species in your yard (and become a Trout Friendly Lawn member!).
Install a grey water system and save 2,775 gallons per year.
By cutting your shower time by five minutes, you can save up to 20 gallons of water per shower…or better yet, shower with a friend.
Remember to turn off the water while brushing and shaving and save up to 1,000 gallons/month.
You Can Help Solve Our Water Problems Big Wood Ice ©Mark Benjamin
Water is getting scarce. This year has brought drought, low snow packs, and record low stream flows in a number of river systems. We see Atlanta in protracted battles with downstream states over its primary water supply at Lake Lanier and water tables beneath the San Joaquin Valley—the source of 40 percent of the nation’s fruits and vegetables—dropping. A recent study by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) suggests that by mid-century, half the counties in the U.S. will be facing water scarcity. While this may all seem distressing, it also implies a potent truth. As consumers, we have the power to change our own behavior. We can make choices about what and how much we purchase, and we can influence what types of products and services are sold in the market—all of which can lead to increased water use efficiency and decreased water demand. And, we can play a critical role in raising the awareness that will catalyze necessary change. We can do this by weaving sustainability into our school curriculums, modeling changes in our own behavior, and pushing to implement changes in programs, infrastructure, and management to better steward water and other resources. Several public buildings stand out as shining examples of how these principles can be modeled. One in particular—the science wing of the Bertschi School in Seattle—is Washington state’s first “living building,” achieving net zero water and net zero energy, meaning that all water and energy used on the premises is supplied onsite, reducing both direct water use and the building’s larger water footprint (via reduced energy use and onsite food production). The building functions as a living laboratory. All water used is collected and treated onsite: a rain garden treats all storm water and provides food, an interior green wall treats wastewater grey water, and a composting toilet treats black water. Collected rainwater runs through the classroom so students can test water quality. Solar panels provide all electricity for the building, and students are charged with tracking energy production and use. Students learn to grow and harvest their own food in the school’s garden. Climate conditioning comes from a mosscovered roof, natural ventilation and radiant floor heating. Via the power of example, this school is likely to produce the water and resource stewards of the future. If we are to solve our water problems, we need to continue walking down the path towards sustainability. by Wendy Pabich The author of Taking on Water (Sasquatch Books, September 2012), Wendy J. Pabich is an environmental scientist, educator, adventurer, and artist obsessed with all things water. She is the founder and president of Water Futures, Inc. Visit her website at www.waterdeva.com for more information on becoming water wise.
LEVERAGING LANDS FOR CONSERVATION Located in the Bellevue Triangle, Wood River Land Trust’s 131-acre Church Farm Preserve was originally donated by Joyce Pearson at the end of 2006. Its preservation ensures protection of the extensive wetlands, found on the property but also sensitive wildlife habitat and agricultural resources. When a landowner makes a gift of real estate, it can often provide significant tax deductions. In addition to protecting and restoring important natural resources, land donations like Church Farm give the Land Trust opportunities to broaden our conservation goals. In this case, we applied for funding for a Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) conservation easement from the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), a program under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This program compensates landowners for permanent protection and restoration of designated wetlands. The $46,000 we will receive for the conservation easement by the end of 2013 will be reinvested in future conservation work on the property or in the area. Selling an easement fits within our strategic, long-term goals for Church Farm, which include: • Enhancing and preserving wildlife habitat for species, including willet, Northern harrier, long-billed curlew, greater sage-grouse, sandhill crane, and pronghorn; • Maintaining local, sustainable agricultural use and ranching; and • If market conditions warrant, selling the property to a conservation-minded buyer with permanent development restrictions and the WRP easement in place.
For the past four years, the Land Trust has leased Church Farm’s agricultural areas to a local rancher and farmer for crop cultivation and limited grazing outside of the WRP easement area. We continually work with Blaine County’s Cooperative Weed Management Area to control invasive exotics, including Canada thistle and bull thistle. Recently, we received a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowing us to fence creek corridors and riparian areas to protect water quality. The grant also allowed us to implement irrigation improvements for effective water delivery on agricultural areas. Stewardship projects such as these are ongoing and we continually look for ways—in addition to your private funding—to help cover costs. The WRP conservation easement and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant have helped the Land Trust achieve its management and protection goals for Church Farm Preserve. We have been able to protect sensitive wetlands areas in perpetuity while continuing to utilize productive agricultural portions of the property. Neighboring agricultural landowners have also implemented similar conservation practices, improving the health of our watershed and natural resources. “Leveraging gifts of land and money is an important part of our conservation work,” said Land Trust Executive Director Scott Boettger. “We are grateful for the contribution from Joyce and our other landowners. We also need continued annual support from our community to help us meet the complex challenge of land conservation in our area.”
Ramona House move
Just Re-use It
Since opening its doors nearly 15 years ago, the Building Material Thrift Store (BMTS) has been a resource for quality building and home-improvement materials, including appliances, fixtures, hardware, lumber, trim, windows, lighting, furniture, art and items too unique to classify. It has grown from a small operation to its current 6,000square foot building/13,000-square foot yard at 3930 Woodside Boulevard, across from Power Engineers. Bruce Tidwell, a founding Board member of Wood River Land Trust (WRLT) and the creator behind BMTS’s concept to reduce waste and promote the use of reclaimed materials, was interested in a congruent idea to support WRLT and complement its mission of preserving natural areas and maintaining healthy waters throughout the region. Along with reducing landfill waste and providing affordable materials to the public, the Thrift Store has gifted over $500,000 to WRLT, as well as created four full-time and two part-time jobs. Don’t let your home go into the landfill Located in Hailey’s Woodside industrial park, the Thrift Store not only accepts donations of home improvement items and building materials, they also accept home donations. Most Valley residents may not realize that BMTS will lead the effort to auction a home, deconstruct the home and recycle its materials, and/or move an entire home to a new location. Since 1999, 35 homes and one office building have been donated and sold. Numerous other structures have been salvaged, reducing landfill waste and minimizing the impact on the natural resources of our region. Also, a significant tax savings is a foremost benefit to those who donate a home to the Thrift Store.
The enthusiasm for the store’s activity is reflected by a frequent customer and anonymous purchaser of a house donated to and auctioned by the BMTS: “I think the Thrift Store is a great idea. The staff there is very friendly and helpful. The opportunity it presents to recycle building materials and even entire houses is not only good for the planet, but also good for the donors and store customers. Moreover, it helps the Land Trust protect more open space throughout our area. It’s not just a “win-win” situation; it’s a “win-win-win” situation!” Giving back to the community In addition to donating proceeds from sales to WRLT, the Thrift Store helps other civic causes by donating needed items for which funds may not be available. Some of these donated items have included: • Hailey Skate Park: Heavy plastic sheeting to cover equipment during winter • City of Fairfield: A playground set for the 4-H Park • Idaho Migrant Council: Miscellaneous appliances for migrant housing • St. Vincent De Paul Center: Miscellaneous appliances and items for the needy • Various nonprofits: Office and building supplies Protecting the place we call home Whether a person is remodeling a house, making a donation, or just looking for a great deal on reusable materials or appliances, BMTS is the place to go. And more importantly, the proceeds go to a good cause…protecting land and wildlife habitat within the Wood River Valley, this precious place we call home.
Support Wood River Land Trust & Support Conservation
Recycle with the Building Material Thrift Store Proceeds from the Building Material Thrift Store go to Wood River Land Trust’s preservation of natural areas and healthy waters throughout the Wood River Valley and surrounding areas. You May find… Appliances & Fixtures Cabinets & Hardware Furniture & Accessories Lighting & Art Rugs & Flooring Unique & One-of-a-kind Items Much, much more!
We also accept and help with… Structure Relocation Structure Deconstruction Scrap Metal Vehicles The Building Materials Thrift Store shares the goals of the United States Green Bulding Council to create a more sustainable buiilding environment.
Co u n
Building Material Thrift 3930 Woodside Blvd. Hailey, Idaho 83333
Land Trust Welcomes New Staff Chad Stoesz joined the Land Trust earlier this year as our Stewardship Coordinator. He helps oversee our conservation easements and management of our preserves. Before joining the Land Trust, Chad worked for the Colorado Division of Wildlife in Denver. He also went to college in Denver, graduating with a B.A. in Behavioral Science from the Metropolitan State College of Denver and an M.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Colorado. Chad took a few minutes to answer some questions for us, but he wouldn’t tell us his most embarrassing moment… 1. What event or person connected you to the great outdoors? Backpacking with friends cemented my appreciation for nature. 2. When were your eyes opened to the fragility of our surroundings and the necessity to protect them? My eyes were opened to the frailty of nature after learning about how much of the planet has been altered by development, and how little “untouched” wilderness remains. 3. What is something that most people may not know about you? Most people may not know that I have my pilot’s license. 4. What do you have a knack for? I have a knack for figuring out efficient ways of doing things. 5. Where can we find you on a typical weekend afternoon? On a typical weekend you can find me kayaking. My wife and I are becoming addicted to being on the water. 10
Gifts for the Future Meet Your Financial Needs While Helping Conserve Open Space You may have a vacation or second home you’re no longer using or a rental property you no longer want to manage. You may be planning your estate and not sure what to do with your home. You may be reluctant to sell because of the work it takes or the taxes you may face. You may find that during tough economic times you can’t sell. If you face any of these issues and want a simpler solution, there is good news: A gift of real estate to Wood River Land Trust (WRLT) can provide you with numerous financial benefits and help conserve our treasured, natural lands. Making a gift of real estate to the Land Trust can provide you with lifetime income, reduce your taxes, simplify your estate for your heirs, and ease the demands of owning property. Here are a few suggestions for including the Land Trust in your estate plans: • If you wish to make an outright gift of real estate to WRLT, you will receive a charitable income tax deduction for the property’s fair market value and avoid capital gains taxes. • It is also possible to give WRLT a remainder interest in your property, allowing you to receive a tax deduction at the time of the gift and continue using the property during your lifetime. Establishing a charitable remainder trust with real estate can enable you to avoid capital gains taxes, receive a tax deduction for your gift, and receive income for the rest of your life. • Probably the simplest way to include the Land Trust in your estate plans is to leave your home to WRLT in your will. No matter what you choose, your gift helps to permanently protect our region’s extraordinary open space lands. The legacy you choose to leave will impact future generations. For more information about the Land Trust’s real estate gifts program, please contact Daphne Muehle at dmuehle@WoodRiverLandTrust.org or (208)788-3947.
Organization This newsletter is published by Wood River Land Trust 119 E. Bullion Street Hailey, ID 83333 Tel: 208-788-3947 Fax: 208-788-5991 www.woodriverlandtrust.org
Stock Gifts Make “CENTS”
WRLT is a public benefit Idaho company and is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to WRLT are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Public financial information is available on our website or by contacting
With the end of the year quickly approaching, a gift of stock to Wood River Land Trust might be a tax-wise contribution. If you have appreciated stocks, it is simple to make a gift that can have favorable tax benefits. For example, a donor who gives a gift of common stock, held longer than one year, can avoid capital gains taxation on the transfer so the full value of the contribution goes to the Land Trust. The donor is able to take a charitable deduction using the full value of the gift and can claim up to 30 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) in the year the gift is made, with up to five years to absorb the full deduction under the AGI ceiling. Your broker can help you make the transfer, but if you have any questions, be sure to contact us. Below are the instructions to share with your broker about making a gift of stock to Wood River Land Trust:
our office. Editors: Deb Gelet, Daphne Muehle Writers: WRLT staff Designed by Penfield Stroh Printed by Northwest Printing Cover photo: Foggy Aspens ©Michael Edminster BOARD OF DIRECTORS Trent Jones, President David Anderson, Vice-President John French, Treasurer Ed Cutter, Secretary Richard Carr
1. Contact your stockbroker. Your stockbroker can make a direct electronic transfer of your stock certificates to WRLT’s account with the following information: Charles Schwab: DTC #0164 Code 40 Account Registration: Wood River Land Trust Account Number: 7811-0294 Charles Schwab Contact for Contra/DTC Hotline: 602-355-9003
Bald eagle ©Michael Edminster
2. Give your stockbroker Wood River Land Trust’s taxpayer identification number: 82-0474191
3. Notify WRLT of the transfer so that we can properly credit you, as your name will not be with the wire of securities: Daphne Muehle, Director of Development, 208-788-3947 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please provide WRLT with the following information: • Name of the security; • Number of shares to be donated; and • Name and phone number of your stockbroker.
John Flattery Jack Kueneman Jane Mason Wolf Riehle Megan Stevenson Steve Strandberg Barbara Thrasher STAFF Scott Boettger, Executive Director Jill Brown, Development Associate Patti Lousen, Project Coordinator Daphne Muehle, Director of
Trey Spaulding, Director of Operations Chad Stoesz, Stewardship Coordinator Keri York, Senior Conservation
Wood River Land Trust protects and restores land, water, and wildlife habitat in the Wood River Valley and its surrounding areas. We work cooperatively with private landowners and local communities to ensure these areas are protected now and for future generations.
Fox ÂŠMichael Edminster 12
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