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Protecting the Sanpoil River Corridor

Photo taken by Toby Kock, USGS.

The Sanpoil River winds for 70 miles through Ferry County. Forty miles of that distance is through the Reservation of Colville Confederated Tribes. Most of the Reservation land is open range. To fence a traditional riparian (streamside) buffer (100 feet wide) to exclude livestock and protect water quality would cost at least $1.6 million. Ferry Conservation District faced a challenge: how could we protect the riparian corridor at a reasonable cost? We were contacted by Colville Tribal Range Management with a proposal that met our needs.

Project Summary and Results

The Sanpoil River Valley has steep rock walls, and just a few narrow canyons pass through those walls. The Tribal Range Management plan was to install cattle guards on those canyon roads and then build fences from the cattle guards to the canyon walls. They had the plan. What they needed was financial assistance. For less than 20 percent of our original cost estimate, we will have adequate livestock exclusion. In addition, we will have a much wider and more natural riparian corridor. This is the largest project that we have ever undertaken in cooperation with the Colville Confederated Tribes.

Key Partners

Colville Confederated
Tribes; Bureau of Indian Affairs; WA State
Conservation Commission; USDA: Natural
Resources Conservation Service; Colville
Reservation Conservation District

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