For immediate release -- Dec. 15, 2011

SILT's most recent easement was acquired during November 2011. The project, called Hagerman Wings, is a collaborative effort between Ducks Unlimited and SILT. The property is located west of the town of Hagerman along the Snake River in some of the most valuable Magic Valley areas to consider for conservation easements. Read this Times-News article published on May 17, 2012 about this project.

The easement property is a 30.5 acre parcel situated along the eastern edge of the property, which, in total, occupies 279 acres.

The easement area boasts numerous natural amenities.Within the easement area there is an existing freshwater wetland that maintains open water throughout the year providing critical wintering habitat for waterfowl. Multiple additional wetlands occur that are interconnected by narrow riparian woodland communities.

Wetland features are surrounded by a unique upland sagebrush community characterized by relatively shallow groundwater and basalt outcroppings. Ultimately, this results in a relatively intact Big Basin sagebrush community and a mosaic of varying micro-topography. The combination of wetland features, and upland variety provides excellent cover and food supply for a wide variety of native wildlife that typically inhabit the region. This unique habitat is augmented by the farming conducted on both Hagerman Wings Farm as well as adjacent properties.

Furthermore, the proximity of the easement to the Snake River provides excellent upland habitat use for waterfowl and other obligate river species. As river frontage development continues along the Snake River, adjacent upland habitat is becoming more limited. Protecting this relatively natural area serves an important conservation purpose.

The easement property is located approximately 4 miles from the Hagerman Wildlife Management Area, which is owned and managed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game as a waterfowl reserve during the waterfowl hunting season. Hagerman WMA regularly supports 30,000-40,000 waterfowl during the winter. View map that shows focal points for conservation easements in this area of southern Idaho.

Throughout the fall and winter periods, Hagerman Wings Farm is used daily by 5,000-10,000 waterfowl amounting to 12.5%-25% of the total number of waterfowl using the WMA. The easement property is also located directly across the Snake River from the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, an internationally significant monument that protects the world's richest late Pliocene epoch fossil deposits and where 195 species of birds have been documented. The easement preserves the viewshed and natural land features adjacent to this site which is visited by over 20,000 people each year.