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For the week of July 17 - 23, 2002


Conservancy to dredge silt from Stalker Creek

Express Staff Writer

Clearing sediment from behind a small dam on a tributary of Silver Creek this summer will be the first step in a larger program to restore more natural conditions to the entire stream system, the manager of Silver Creek Preserve said Monday.

Preserve Manager Mark Davidson brought up the plan during a hearing before the Blaine County Commissioners on an application by The Nature Conservancy, which owns the preserve, for a stream-alteration permit to dredge about 9,000 cubic yards of sediment in Stalker Creek. The commission approved the application unanimously

Davidson said the dam, at the western edge of the preserve, was initially built for irrigation but now acts as a trap for sediments created by upstream farming and ranching. He said the sediments need to be cleared out about every seven years.

Davidson said the buildup of sediments had created a change in riparian plant life along a approximately half-mile stretch of the creek upstream from the dam.

"It’s going to fit into a larger package," Davidson said of the proposed dredging. "I’m piecing that together. We’re looking at restoring (the stream) to its natural channel, but that takes a lot of time."

He said that would probably be part of a five-year plan.

Ketchum resident and public meeting habitue Mickey Garcia chided Davidson for not putting a long-term plan together before applying for the stream-alteration permit.

"We’ve got kind of a double standard going," he said. "If a developer or miner wanted to do this, this room wouldn’t have enough space for all the people who’d want to stop it."

Davidson replied that it takes time to collect the data necessary to develop a long-term plan, and the sediment needs to be removed soon.

He said that now that The Nature Conservancy has obtained the permit, he hopes to begin the dredging as soon as possible. He said the sediments will be dumped in two areas contained by berms on both sides of the creek.


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