Clear Creek Project Update–October 2017

As you have likely heard or read, the Clear Creek Project on Woodson Ranch–and beyond–is now underway. We have placed 400 acres of the ranch under a Wetland Reserve Easement with the help of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). This will preserve and protect from further development 400 acres of the ranch which have natural wetland characteristics. As part of that agreement, the 2.8 miles of Clear Creek on Woodson Ranch will be “restored”. What this means is that some of the lost sinuosity will return, the river will be re-connected to its flood-plain, and fish barriers in place for irrigation will be replaced with structures allowing for fish passage.

Additionally, thanks to an award from the USDA’s EQIP Program, we are going to alter the source for several nearby fields’ irrigation water. Instead of coming out of Clear Creek, at some serious threat to the fishery, those irrigation needs will be met using stored water out of the Ruby Reservoir. This project will also switch the method of irrigation for those fields from “flood” to “sprinkler”, and as of October 2017, the sprinklers and water lines are being installed. This effort will be complete in time for the 2018 irrigation season which starts May 1.

These projects have the potential to vastly improve the fishery and riparian areas in and around Clear Creek and, indeed, the main stem of the Ruby and downstream waterways connected to the Ruby, including the Beaverhead and the Jefferson.

We could not accomplish these projects without the participation, in terms of both spirit and finance, of our neighbors, the NRCS, and our generous donors. Even with the help of USDA grants and awards, these projects are expensive and your financial support can help us reach the goals sooner and provide flexibility on additional, beneficial habitat-improving projects such as revegetation along the stream banks. Contact dave@rubyhabitat.org if you’d like to participate in this project financially.