Following lunch, we stopped at CB River Springs Ranch WRP. While this was not a 319 project, CB River Springs Ranch is a perpetual wetland easement installed from 2000 to 2002. It is managed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and owned by Jeff Casey and Claude Baird.
The wetlands consist of a series of seven sediment ponds called cells. These are divided up into two complexes: one complex with four cells and the other with three cells. It is on 82 acres, and the wetlands are designed to remove sediments and nutrients from the “chocolate milk” colored water entering the property. On average, the wetlands “store” the water for about four days. In the first few ponds, the sediment settles and drops from the water. Wetland plants take in the nutrients from the water. Plants must be removed from time to time after they are full of nutrients. By the time the water leaves the wetland to enter the Snake River, it is as clear as drinking water.
While the project is addressing water quality, it’s also addressing wildlife as well. Twenty-one acres of the eighty-two acre total is dedicated to upland habitat. A grass mix of Tall wheatgrass, Inter wheatgrass, Great Basin Wild rye, and Big Bluegrass were planted in the upland area. Our tour group saw ducks, snakes, wild turkeys, and a beaver crossing.
Jeff and Claude stressed to our tour group the maintenance needed to keep the wetlands running in top form. If they are not replanting wetland plants, they are ensuring the beavers do not dam up the inlets or scheduling a pond drainage to clean out sediment!
Thank you Canyon SCD for a great day touring conservation projects!