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A Salmon-area partnership of the Idaho Conservation League and Jervois Mining have announced the selection of three restoration projects to improve fish habitat, restore riparian land and acquire land along a key river tributary.

The projects will cost $150,000.

This past spring, the Upper Salmon Conservation Action Program, consisting of the Conservation League and the mining company, gathered proposals “from a competitive pool of applicants” and recently announced the three selections.

The first project is the Lemhi Soil and Water Conservation District plan to move a “problematic” diversion on the Lemhi River to aid fish habitat restoration. “The area has been identified as critical habitat for juvenile Chinook salmon and steelhead,” the program said in a news release. The project was allotted $85,000.

“These funds will help the (conservation district) and partners to complete an irrigation consolidation project which is an important first step as part of a larger fish habitat rehabilitation project,” said Bob Minton, conservation district manager. “Habitat projects in tributaries like the Lemhi River are critical for maintaining and growing fish numbers to recover the species and bring recreational and economic opportunity back to the people of Idaho.”

White Clouds Preserve was allotted $35,000 to fund riparian restoration work on 432 acres of ranch land along the East Fork of the Salmon River. The project is expected to help Chinook salmon, steelhead and bull trout that use the stream for spawning.

The Western Rivers Conservancy was allotted $30,000 to help that group acquire land along Panther Creek, a major tributary of the Salmon River. The acquisition will help in the recovery of spawning and rearing habitat for endangered fish, the program said.

“We are working to convey two properties on Panther Creek to the Salmon-Challis National Forest, setting the stage for habitat recovery including riparian and instream improvements to re-establish floodplain connectivity and encourage establishment and growth of riparian vegetation along a mile and a half of Panther Creek,” said Dieter Erdmann, the Interior West Program Director for the Western Rivers Conservancy.

The Upper Salmon Conservation Action Program will receive $150,000 annually from Jervois Mining, a company planning to extract cobalt from the region. The next call for proposals for the 2022 funding cycle is expected this winter.