The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation works with a wide range of partners to carry out its conservation mission all across elk country. Below is a news release from PacifiCorp that highlights a 2017 PacifiCorp-RMEF collaborative project.
PacifiCorp Wins National Award for Land Conservation
June 12, 2018
PORTLAND, Ore. — PacifiCorp has won a 2018 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters (OSAW) Recreational, Environmental, & Historical Enhancement Award for its efforts in land preservation and environmental stewardship on the Lewis River in Southwest Washington. The annual recognition is made by The National Hydropower Association (NHA).
PacifiCorp – a utility serving approximately 1.9 million customers in Oregon, Washington, California, Utah, Wyoming and Idaho – won the OSAW Award in the Recreational, Environmental, & Historical Enhancement category for its Land Acquisition for Wildlife Habitat Mitigation in the North Fork Lewis River Basin project accomplished in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
When PacifiCorp created the Merwin, Yale and Swift dams along the north fork of the Lewis River in Washington beginning in the 1930s, more than 12,000 acres of wildlife habitat was inundated. At that time the company committed to protecting and managing land surrounding its hydropower operations on the Lewis River, and in 2008 decided to protect additional habitat during relicensing.
“PacifiCorp went above and beyond to protect the habitat around its three hydropower facilities,” the NHA says. “It showed a true commitment to protecting the local habitat and the wildlife that need the land to thrive. We’re thrilled to recognize PacifiCorp’s efforts.”
In 2017, the utility successfully completed the purchase of a fifth parcel of land, resulting in 15,162 total acres of wildlife mitigation lands in the Lewis River basin.
“The dams had inundated about 12,000 acres of land,” says Kendel Emmerson, senior environmental scientist for PacifiCorp. “We’ve exceeded that amount of land and given back to Washington what we had removed by the water.”
“The acquisition of another 1,880 acres of wildlife habitat above Swift Reservoir highlights PacifiCorp’s ongoing commitment to conserving wildlife habitat and creating public access for hunting and other recreational activities,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “We appreciate the opportunity to work together in a way that furthers our conservation mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.”
For more information about PacifiCorp’s environmental stewardship, PoweringGreatness.com/betterfuture
NHA’s OSAW Awards aim to recognize deserving organizations and reflect the changing nature of the hydropower industry, particularly the fact that hydropower can be used in various waterways. OSAW Awards are given out in three distinct categories: Operational Excellence; Recreational, Environmental & Historical Enhancement; and Public Education. PacifiCorp won in the Recreational, Environmental, & Historical Enhancement category, which honors projects that provide enhanced recreational opportunities for the general public; offer measurable benefits that mitigate, conserve, preserve, or enhance the natural resources; or conserve historical aspects of hydropower facilities and their integration with the surrounding community.