For migratory birds, such as great blue herons, the wet vegetation along Utah’s rivers provides vital breeding grounds. Yet these unique areas are easily destroyed or impacted by development, erosion and invasive species. That’s why the conservation community is celebrating a new easement to protect 500 acres of key riparian land along the Bear River in Cache County.
Teaming up with Bridgerland Audubon Society and PacifiCorp, the Conservancy helped to broker the conservation deal and provided scientific support to inform the terms of the easement as well as future management plans for the property. PacifiCorp will remain the owner of the land while Bridgerland Audubon will hold the easement and ensure the land remains protected. A new management plan for the acreage is being implemented, including efforts to control noxious weeds, restore oxbow wetlands and improve habitat for birds.
“This kind of riparian habitat is really very rare in the western United States,” said Joan Degiorgio, the Conservancy’s Northern Mountains Regional Director. “Lowland riparian zones (below 5,500 feet) are critical for a large percentage of Utah’s bird species, but account for less than one-quarter of one percent of the land in the state."