In December of 2021, a scoping letter was sent from the BLM Challis Field Office (CFO) to BHA, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Idaho Wildlife Federation, Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Mule Deer Initiative for the Elkhorn Riparian Exclosure Fences project. The project proposal includes construction of exclosure fences to protect two primary riparian areas, including spring complexes, a pond, and an aspen stand on the Pines-Elkhorn cattle and horse allotment in the Pahsimeroi Valley. All of these groups submitted comments and support for this project because it encompasses important elk and deer winter range, elk calving and priority habitat for sage grouse. The project area also has value for mule deer fawns and pronghorn, especially during the dry summer months.
Unfortunately, the project has not been updated on ePlanning since November 16th, 2021. Recent conversations with BLM staff have indicated that the project has not made much progress in the last year, and that the size of the riparian exclosures may have been reduced from what was originally proposed. BHA recently composed a letter, which was co-signed by TRCP, IWF, and IDFG/MDI asking for an update on the project, and clarification on the status and plans for the project. The groups encouraged the CFO to not abandon this opportunity for a project that is based on a collaborative approach to managing and improving critical habitat and natural resources that are highly valued from a wildlife and ecological standpoint.