RIVER RESTORATION

The Wood River Land Trust works with municipalities, non-profits, other government agencies, and private stakeholders to restore and enhance the Big Wood River. Our goals are to restore natural river function to the greatest extent possible to ensure healthy habitat for local fish and wildlife populations.

READ MORE ABOUT HOW WE HELP TO RESTORE THE BIG WOOD RIVER THROUGHOUT THE WOOD RIVER VALLEY

Be sure to watch the videos describing the projects for a comprehensive on the ground look at the work we do.

LOWER HOWARD PRESERVE RIVER RESTORATION

About: This project is part of a mile-long design from Broadford Bridge down to Riverside Estates on the Big Wood River. A large stakeholder group consisting of City of Bellevue, Flood Control District #9, Diversion 45 Canal District, Friends of the Howard Preserve, several private landowners, Trout Unlimited and Wood River Land Trust, all contributed funds to this design.

The purpose of the design was to find flood mitigation solutions for private property and enhance floodplain and natural fluvial processes.

This project will reconnect floodplain and side channel habitat during bank full flow and increase in-stream fish habitat diversity by constructing a large wood structure and boulder cluster formations. These treatments will slow down velocities of flood flows to decrease erosion of private property to residences downstream of the project area. These treatments will also enhance floodplain habitat on the southern half of the Howard Preserve that will benefit fish and
wildlife species. Below is the stream restoration design. Funding sources are a flood mitigation grant with Idaho Water Resource Board, Flood Control District #9, and City of Bellevue. We estimate the project to be implemented by January, 2021.

SUN PEAK PRESERVE AND RIVER RESTORATION

About:  The Wood River Land Trust has been working with the City of Ketchum, community members of the Hulen Meadows neighborhood, resident river enthusiasts, and community partners like Higher Ground.  We’re designing a space at the Hulen Meadows Pond that can help create a profound connection to nature for people who traditionally can’t utilize the wild spaces throughout the valley. After a variety of public stakeholder meetings, the community came to a consensus that it is a priority to create options for amenities and access for persons with disabilities at the Hulen Meadows Pond.

The Wood River Land Trust has created three amenity concept plans focusing on better parking, ADA access to amenities like a viewing platform, restrooms, and picnic areas, and to reduce pedestrian conflicts with vehicular traffic.  The plans will be reviewed by professionals that focus on designing amenities for persons with disabilities.

As we move forward with this project as a community, the Land Trust will go over the amenity concept plans with the public when it is safe to gather due to Covid-19 concerns.  

Ryan Santo, Restoration Specialist for the Wood River Land Trust and project coordinator for the Sun Peak Preserve exclaims that “This is an exciting opportunity to provide access for all to enjoy the Hulen Meadows Pond and the Big Wood River!”

We know it is imperative that as a community, we look out for all of our members — creating accessible spaces such as the Sun Peak Preserve is the perfect place to start.  The Wood River Land Trust is excited to bring the magic of wild spaces and happy places to all members of our community.

COLORADO GULCH RIVER RESTORATION

About:The Stream Alteration Permit (SAP) has been approved and construction could start as early as October 2020.

The final draft of the Big Wood River Atlas was posted in March and recommended our stream restoration project as it will remove rip-rap and restore natural channel processes to a reach that has been impacted by artificial confinement.

The last 8 months we have been working with the County on a conceptual design for a suspension bridge that would span most of the floodway. The proposed bridge would be approximately 500 feet in length and early estimates could be in the range of $1.2 to $2 million. The County is interested in pursuing this option since it is the ideal bridge for this area that would allow the natural fluvial processes to occur and provide access year round during most snow pack conditions. Funding would come from a combination of donations and grants. The County already has approximately $250,000 from a FEMA program for bridge construction. As this is the best bridge for to accomplish our goals, we realize that implementing a suspension of this size way be difficult.

HAILEY GREENWAY MASTER PLAN

About: Nestled within the trees and along the banks of the Big Wood River, the natural trails of the Hailey Greenway provide the community a refuge and a deep connection to nature. The Hailey Greenway is a place to walk your dog, to hear the river trickling over rocks, to meet friends, and to celebrate a loved one with a heart shaped stone. It is a special place that is physically very close to the bustling Hailey downtown, but experientially another world away. It is a place to be cared for and celebrated as described in this Master Plan so that it can continue to connect land, water, and our community for generations to come.

The Hailey Greenway includes lands along 1.5-miles of the Big Wood River from the Bullion Street bridge to the Colorado Gulch Road that are primarily owned or controlled by the Wood River Land Trust (WRLT) or the City of Hailey. The Greenway encompasses approximately 350 acres and includes two public parks, Lions Park and Heagle Park, as well as open space land owned by the City of Hailey and the Draper Wood River Preserve and the Colorado Gulch Preserve owned by the Wood River Land Trust. This continuous stretch of land that includes the riparian area of the Big Wood River is a tremendous asset to the community providing recreational opportunities for residents and visitors, habitat for wildlife, and space for natural floodplain function.
This Master Plan was developed collaboratively with the City of Hailey, the Wood River Land Trust, and the community, and it includes guidelines for future development and preservation of the Greenway, as well as prioritization of future projects. Other planning documents and studies that pertain to the Greenway include the Big Wood Geomorphic Assessment (Biota, 2016), the Hailey Parks, Lands & Trails Master Plan, the Hailey and Blaine County Comprehensive Plans, and others. This Master Plan is a living document and should be updated frequently as new information, plans, projects, or events unfold.

BOXCAR BEND PRESERVE RIVER RESTORATION

About: Historically, the Union Pacific Railroad ran through the upland portion of the Property. In the 1980s, after railroad use was discontinued, the tracks fell down the riverbank due to extreme erosion. Erosion continued to threaten Highway 75, and in an effort to protect the bank and the highway, car bodies and railroad cars were placed next to and in the river. Sun Valley Partners, the developers of the adjacent Rainbow Bend Subdivision, donated the parcel to The Nature Conservancy in 1995 who then transferred it to the Wood River Land Trust in 1997.  In 1988, Friends of the Big Wood River, a local volunteer group, restored the west back to a more gradual slope, installed bank stabilization structures, and planted riparian vegetation.

Our Boxcar Bend Preserve is a highly visible area that sees a considerable amount of public use and is cited as being one of the most popular fishing locations in the State of Idaho. This preserve ensures public access to the Big Wood River via established trails and protects relatively natural fish and wildlife habitat. Boxcar Bend adds acreage to the greenway along the Big Wood River, protecting the floodplain from development and offering river access to the public.