Habitat Project:

Kootenai Valley Linkage

Protecting working lands and a key wildlife corridor between mountain ranges in northern Idaho.

Canola field on the Hubbard Farm
Kootenai River next to the Hubbard Farm
Map of Hubbard Farm surrounding area
Road and hillside at the Hubbard Farm

Kootenai Valley Linkage PROJECT BRIEF

In the Kootenai Valley of northern Idaho, we’re protecting both wildlife connectivity and local agriculture. The 1,040-acre Hubbard Farm provides a vital wildlife corridor between the Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges. We’re working on a conservation agreement for the property that will make sure this habitat value is not damaged by future development. The easement will also sustain open agricultural land in one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions, with support from the Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).

Biologists estimate 50-60 grizzlies roam the Selkirk Ecosystem between far northern Idaho, southern British Columbia and the northeastern corner of Washington state. Just 25 of the bears live around Montana’s Yaak Valley and the ridges of the Purcell range that rise above it. Another 25 dwell farther south in the Cabinet Mountains along the Montana-Idaho border.

The Hubbard Farm runs up against the Kootenai River on its west side and spans a sizeable chunk of the valley. It abuts other conserved lands, adding to a conservation patchwork that creates viable options for wildlife to cross the valley without running into people. Whether it’s a grizzly, moose or wandering wolverine, that safe passage will only become more important as climate shifts alter animals’ diets and seasonal patterns, forcing them to travel farther to meet basic needs. With its river frontage and lush low-elevation habitat, places like the Hubbard Farm may become natural bottlenecks for animals on the move.

Of course, it’s not just wildlife staring down an uncertain future. As climate change impacts global food production, the Hubbard Farm stands to provide an invaluable resource to future generations of people as well as wildlife.

Vital Ground is on track to complete the easement in 2020, with our application accepted by the ALE program and final details of the agreement currently under discussion. Of course, collaborative work like this would be impossible without conservation-minded landowner partners like the Hubbard Family and committed supporters like you. From public agencies to private contributors, it may take a village to get grizzlies across the Kootenai Valley, but we’re well on our way!

Kootenai Valley Linkage at a Glance

  • Hubbard easement will protect 1,040 acres
  • Farm includes Kootenai River frontage
  • Project spans large portion of Kootenai Valley
  • Helps protect wildlife corridor between Selkirk and Purcell mountains