Minutes from Boise, Idaho, sits a little known slice of nature described in Ada County’s open space plan as a “Jewel of the Desert.” Blacks Creek Reservoir is a rare oasis of water and mudflats in a sea of sagebrush. It is a critical stopover site for migrating birds in the spring and fall and harbors more than 25 mammal and reptile species. Because of this unique habitat within the desert, Blacks Creek Reservoir has been designated an Important Bird Area by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the National Audubon Society.
The 620 acre site is made up of a combination of publicly and privately held land. Unfortunately, due to insufficient funds, the area has not been adequately managed for wildlife or people, and has been misused by trash dumpers, midnight partiers, target shooters, and mud-boggers. The jewel needs a little shining.
With a TogetherGreen Innovation Grant, Golden Eagle Audubon Society, the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley, and nine other partners will start putting a Master Site Plan (developed last year with a TogetherGreen planning grant) into action for the Blacks Creek Reservior area. They’ll begin by protecting sensitive habitats from further degradation, and repairing soils compacted by decades of misuse. This will lead toward passive and active restoration efforts to return the area to a functional place for wildlife. Golden Eagle Audubon Society and Land Trust of the Treasure Valley will work with the sheriff’s office, neighboring landowners, irrigation shareholders, and others to create a community dedicated to long-term protection of this special place.
Soon the Jewel of the Desert will sparkle as it once did!