Chilly Slough Wetland Conservation Project

Bureau of Land Management
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
SCA Crew in Chilly Slough Wetlands sitting on the Jack leg fence they just completed.

SCA & BLM team up for Jack Leg fence build

Chilly Slough is one of the few remaining examples of natural, high desert, spring-fed wetland. The wetland is created by a combination of flat, valley-bottom topography and abundant spring water. The springs emanate from aquifers surfacing from the base of the Idaho’s most spectacular mountains, the Lost River Range.

SCA Team at BLM's Chilly Slough Wetland in IdahoFrom the dry sagebrush uplands to the flooded cattail-filled marshes, Chilly Slough embraces an abundance of wildlife and a striking variety of vegetation. The wetland is heavily used by migrating waterfowl, shorebirds, and sandhill cranes. Chilly Slough is used by more species of wildlife than any other site in Central Idaho – approximately 134 different birds, 27 mammals, 6 reptiles, 3 amphibians, and 3 fish species are known to use the Chilly Slough wetlands.

Its location along the flyway and scarcity of other available wetlands make it crucial for the refueling of migratory birds. It is also important for nesting and feeding of sensitive species such as trumpeter swan, peregrine falcon, and Towsend’s big eared bat.

Rare plants include rush aster, marsh felwort and swamp willow weed. The combination of open water, wetland vegetation and upland 
vegetation all contribute to the significant biological diversity of Chilly Slough.

BLM Challis Field Office Staff recently partnered with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and Youth Employment Program (YEP) to build a wildlife friendly jack leg fence across the Chilly Slough Wetland Conservation Project Area. They completed a total of 2,940 feet of jack leg fence in addition to cleaning up an old dilapidated electric fence and other old fence materials that posed threats to wildlife. The jack leg fence will provide a longer lasting and less expensive maintenance regimen for the agency. The fence also serves as a property boundary between private, state, and BLM land.

Wildlife at BLM's Chilly Slugh Wetland in Idaho