Salmon and ranchers both need water. Salmon swim up rivers and streams to spawn; ranchers irrigate hay fields to provide winter feed for their livestock. Eastern Idaho rancher Merrill Beyeler believes that these uses can coexist.
He is increasing salmon habitat in Idaho’s Lemhi Valley while improving his ranching operation.
Beyeler is working with other ranchers, The Nature Conservancy, Idaho Fish and Game, and other groups, to remove barriers to fish, reconnect tributaries to the main Lemhi River, return the river to its previous, winding channel, and increase flow at the mouth of the Lemhi. Often, these changes mean less work for him and other ranchers.
I wrote about Merrill Beyeler’s stewardship work in the current Intermountain Farm & Ranch, available on the Idaho Falls Post Register’s website through this weekend (page 4). http://www.postregister.com/farmandranch/fandr.pdf.