The Nature Conservancy announces $20 million campaign
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
The Idaho branch of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) will
unveil today what it claims is the largest private conservation effort in
The fundraising and land conservation initiative, called
"For Idaho Forever, a Campaign for Conservation," is directed at
raising $20 million for land preservation and conservation-related
projects on and around seven of TNC of Idaho’s conservation sites.
Of the total, $8 million will go toward habitat
restoration, education efforts and community collaboration, and $12
million will be used to secure protection of key land parcels.
The icing on the cake is that the conservancy has already
raised $18 million mostly from its members. An anonymous donor chipped in
$1 million, the largest single donation to TNC ever, earmarked for water
protection at Box Canyon in the Hagerman Valley.
The fundraising campaign, begun two years ago and was in a
"silent phase" until now. It will go public at a kickoff party
at The Rose Room in Boise tonight, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. All TNC members
are encouraged to attend.
"To achieve long-term conservation of our state’s
biodiversity, we must work on entire functional landscapes," TNC of
Idaho director Geoff Pampush stated in a press release. "We all hope
all who love Idaho will join us in this effort to protect our natural
Silver Creek Preserve, a local TNC site boasting
world-famous trout fishing, and the area surrounding Silver Creek are
slated to receive more than $750,000 from the effort.
The Silver Creek funds will be used to create a habitat
restoration and research fund, capital campaign assistant Amy Olson said.
That fund will be used to work with landowners to continue to protect the
watershed by obtaining easements from landowners or by helping with
restoration efforts on private land with cooperating participants.
The fund could also be used to do additional research on
the aquifer connection between the Big Wood River and Silver Creek’s
springs, Olson said.
"We need to be involved in decisions about the ways
the water’s going to be used," she said.
Slated projects go far beyond Silver Creek, however.
The seven priority landscapes earmarked for "For
Idaho Forever" projects are: the upper Henry’s Fork River,
vanishing rivers (Big and Little Lost rivers and Birch Creek), the Owyhee
canyonlands, Hells Canyon, north Idaho wetlands, the middle Snake River
and Silver Creek.
"Scientific data confirms that these areas are among
the most biologically intact, yet imperiled, landscapes in Idaho,"
TNC stated in a press release.
TNC is a private, international, non-profit organization
established in 1951 to preserve Mother Nature’s natural diversity. To
date, TNC of Idaho manages 20 preserves and has protected more than
220,000 acres. Its state office is in Ketchum.