Preserving and Sustaining Idaho's Wildlife Heritage

Success Stories / Southwest


Council Rural Environmental Stewardship Pond
Multiple project partners and 240 students created a community fishing pond and an outdoor classroom. Pond improvements enhanced aquatic habitat and the surrounding riparian area for wildlife. Using inquiry-based learning, students are able to work with natural resource professionals to apply management principles to enhance fish and wildlife habitat and to learn about fish and wildlife biology.

pond picture  girls canoe island

Bird by Bird
The “Bird by Bird” program operates in outdoor environments at several schools in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Star, Caldwell and Emmett teaching Idaho’s youth–from preschool to high school–about birds and their environment. Since inception, over 4,000 students have attended the program to learn about biology, ecology, and the interrelationships between animals, habitats, and humans. Grants from the Foundation helped to create a new promotional video and to purchase bird feeding equipment, binoculars, bird seed, and field guides.

B3-WildlifeViewing-Photo by Barb Fordehase, BLM  Garfield Elementary inBoise birdwatching. Photo by Joni Brooks

Riverside Pond Access Improvement

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Riverside Pond, in Garden City, Idaho, was an under-utilized community pond. The project constructed a safe, ADA-compliant pathway and floating fishing dock. The dock and pathway greatly increased the use of the pond by both local residents and visitors.

Little Creek & Big Creek Riparian Improvements

June 2014 080 kids plantingThis project included restoring a total of a half-mile of riparian habitat on Big Creek and Little Creek in New Meadows, Idaho. Both of these sections had highly unstable banks and almost no shade or shrub components. The restoration increased shading and reduced sediment delivery to the creek. The improved riparian area will act as a filter for nutrient runoff as well as enhanced wildlife habitat.

Morrison-Knudsen Nature Center
The Foundation was established in 1990 to coordinate fundraising that created the MK Nature Center in Boise. The mission of the Center is to inspire love, appreciation, and stewardship of our natural world. The Center provides educational programs for over 10,000 students and for 150,000 to 200,000 visitors that walk through the Center annually. Over the years, various repair and maintenance projects–from bridge construction to water pumps, a new roof and underwater viewing windows–were needed to continue to provide a safe, clean environment to visitors and guests year round. The Alpine Lake window is the largest and most popular fishing viewing site of the Center. A blending of art and education adorns the concrete infrastructure with a nature scene featuring Idaho fish and wildlife, the salmon life cycle, macro invertebrates and aquatic plant life, birds and mammals commonly found in Idaho aquatic environments.

MKNC carpet replacement after C  Before  After

Fulton Natural Area
The Fulton natural Area (formerly Boulder Creek Outdoor classroom) is used by Donnelly Elementary School to study Boulder ecology. Students have participated in riparian restoration and water quality study projects at the site and will continue to do so in years to come. The Storybook trail is a series of eight signs set at intervals along the trail, highlighting a nature-related children’s book each month during the summer and early fall. A Foundation grant was used to create a Storybook trail and two interpretive signs for the seven-acre Fulton Natural Area.
Watchable Wildlife
The Idaho Watchable Wildlife program received funds from the Foundation to continue working on programs which promote an appreciation for wildlife and their habitats, wildlife-based tourism, and responsible wildlife observation ethics. The program is part of  the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s Wildlife Diversity Program and is guided by a collaborative committee of local, state, and federal agency representatives and conservation organizations.
Lost Valley Northern Idaho Ground Squirrel Interpretive Site
The Lost Valley Northern Idaho Ground Squirrel Interpretive Project began in 2006 to assist in the education and protection of the species listed by the federal government on the Endangered Species List. The site includes a self-guided interpretive trail through the Northern Idaho ground squirrel site on the east shore of Lost Valley Reservoir in Adams County, Idaho. Signage at strategic access points near occupied habitat of the ground squirrel alert the public to its presence. Funds awarded by the Foundation were used for the production of interpretive panels and informational signs. Funding partners included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Payette National Forest, Southwest Idaho Resource Advisory Committee, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
Be Outside Idaho
BeOutsidePhotoThe Idaho Children and Nature Network is a coalition of agencies and organizations united to lead young Idahoans to a healthy life by developing a sense of place in Idaho’s outdoors. The Network received funding from the Foundation to continue their work in connecting Idaho’s children with nature.
Four Mile Creek Riparian Restoration
In 2007, a partnership was formed to protect and restore a quarter-mile stretch of Four Mile Creek on the west side of Highway 95 north of New Meadows, Idaho. A five-strand barbed wire fence was built to protect the creek from livestock effects. The project improved the salmon and Steelhead habitat along rivers and streams in the Little Salmon River Watershed by planting 800 one- and two-gallon containerized native shrubs and trees along the stretch of Four Mile Creek. Willow weavings were constructed to armor the eroding banks. The Foundation’s grant contributed to the purchase of more than 200 of the trees and the design and construction of a project information sign. Other project partners include Borah High School, Meadows Valley High School, Boise State University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Community-based Restoration Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.
Hyatt Wetlands
A grant from the Idaho Fish & Wildlife Foundation helped fund the restoration of urban wetlands in west Boise. Students and staff at the Meridian Academy worked on the restoration of this former gravel pit. The site consists of 22 acres of wetlands and 15 acres of upland bird and waterfowl habitat. Students worked with the Boise Parks and Recreation Department on site cleanup, habitat restoration and native plant propagation.
Wilson Pond Interpretive Signs
The Wilson Springs Nature Area and Fishing Ponds, in Nampa, Idaho, received funding for much-needed interpretive signs. A total of nine signs were developed, manufactured and installed, providing first-time visitors with an overview of the area, including a detailed map illustrating the walking paths, ponds and other area features.  Other signs outline fishing rules, general rules for visitor use, and educational information featuring the Nampa Fish Hatchery (across the street from Wilson Springs), including its history and the number of catchable Rainbow trout produced by the hatchery on an annual basis(800,000!). Other kiosk signs provide visitors with a lesson in water quality and a primer regarding the algae blooms which plague Wilson Springs each summer. Four interpretive signs are scattered around the area and provide information on the fish species inhabiting Wilson Springs, Anderson Wetland and the four area ponds. 
River Otter Study
OtterStudyThe Idaho Department of Fish and Game received a grant from the Foundation for a statewide river otter health study. Since river otters primarily eat fish, their health reflects the overall status of the rivers and creeks they call home. The animals are highly sensitive to pollution and easily accumulate high levels of mercury and pesticides. The Foundation’s grant paid for toxin screening of river otters throughout the state.
Idaho Bird Observatory Fall Migration Project
IdahoBirdObservThe Idaho Bird Observatory (IBO) is a Boise State University Academic Research Program, which contributes to the conservation of western North American migratory birds through cooperative research and public education. The IBO’s longest-running research and education effort is a fall migration project located on the Boise Ridge, an important staging area for migrating birds during fall and one of only a few known migration sites in the world where great numbers of diurnal raptors, songbirds, and forest owls concentrate during fall migration. The Boise Ridge has been designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the National Audubon Society because of its international significance to migrating birds. The IBO offers a unique opportunity to the public for wildlife viewing and involvement as hundreds of visitors each year travel to IBO research sites to view migrating songbirds, raptors, and forest owls. The Foundation has partnered with numerous entities and organizations to fund this unique program.
Nampa Bow Chiefs Youth Archery
The Foundation granted the Nampa Bow Chiefs a grant to purchase equipment to teach youth in the southwestern Idaho region the sport of archery and its related hunting and wildlife learning benefits. One aspect of the grant was the ability to form a youth archery program. The grant provided an important catalyst to promoting archery safety, wildlife and outdoor pursuits.
Idaho Nature Backpack Program

backpack-contents-e1380821431125 riverbend-preschool-e1380821459854The Idaho Nature Backpack Project focused on getting children outside and engaged in nature.

Under the supervision of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s Watchable Wildlife program, the project partners with childcare providers to encourage children’s time spent outdoors. Backpacks were awarded to selected childcare facilities. The program is designed to enhance time spent in nature in any setting—on field trips, local parks, walks in the neighborhood or free play at the daycare center. The backpacks may include insect nets, magnifying glasses, flying discs, butterfly nets, animal trading cards, ID books, fishing poles, and animal finger puppets.

Wildlife Exclusion Fence
The Wildlife Exclusion Fencing project is a multi-agency effort to encourage mule deer and elk to use a wildlife crossing structure on Idaho’s State Highway 21 outside of Boise. The 1.5 miles of exclusion fence has created effective and safe connectivity between mule deer and elk summer and winter range habitats. It has resulted in a significant reduction in the num ber of motor vehicle collision-related mortalities of mule deer and elk along SH-21 corridor and an increase in motorists’ safety by reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions.

 Mule Deer Overlooking Fence_2  Elk and Deer using Underpass