Boise Mayor David Bieter and Idaho Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore hosted a public meeting concerning the Hammer Flat acquisition by Boise City and transfer to IDFG. The meeting was held at the IDFG Trophy Room on November 30th.
EENA supports the City and IDFG moving forward an completing the transaction using BPA mitigation funds as soon as possible to replenish the city’s Foothills Levy account.
The full statement follows after the jump…
My name is Andy Brunelle and I am a board member of the East End Neighborhood Association. On behalf of the East End Neighborhood Association we want to state our support for the Idaho Fish and Game proposal to acquire Hammer Flat to protect wildlife habitat.
We are a neighborhood association with a long history in foothills protection, participating in the city of Boise’s Foothills development policy planning, and in the Foothills Open Space Management Plan in the 1990s. We cut our teeth on a land acquisition for preservation purposes in our own neighborhood – the Castle Rock reserve — back in the 1990s.
Neighborhood Association leaders have also been involved in the foothills levy. Board member Steve Lord was part of the founding of the first Mayoral foothills levy exploratory committee, working with community leaders like the Honorable Chas McDevitt, and others.
Mr. Lord recalls that the foothills preservation levy that the committee recommended for a popular vote was not solely for recreational acquisition, but for land preservation. Boise’s Foothills preservation movement has always encompassed multiple objectives — clean water, flood prevention, reduction of automobile and household exhaust pollution, wildlife habitat, view scape preservation, sprawl reduction, fire prevention, and recreation. The early discussions did not place more emphasis on one objective than on others.
Not all foothills preservation needs to be focused on recreation, just as not all parks functions need to be recreational. Sometimes the preserved open space has its own, inherent virtue, simply by being preserved and left wild. More so when wildlife, already stressed by urban encroachment and lost river access, needs that natural, open space.
Then- Mayor Brent Coles appointed me to the Mayor’s Foothills Open Space Selection Committee in the fall of 2000. The Committee recognized that preservation of Foothills open space depends not just on the success or failure of one open space serial levy, but instead requires a disciplined long-term approach focusing on partnerships and interagency cooperation. Open space conservation in the Foothills focus on conservation of critical areas of environmental concern while providing for connectivity between existing public open spaces. This proposal will only be achieved by working in partnership and collaboration with other public agencies, non-profit conservation groups, private landowners, and the citizens of Boise. Long-term conservation of Foothills open spaces will only succeed through a vigorous process of public involvement and inter-agency partnership.
Five of our committee’s recommendations made eleven years ago are applicable to the need to complete this transaction between the city of Boise and Idaho Fish and Game:
• Boise must commit to using the acquisition recommendations contained within this report to perpetuate the character of the Foothills. However, we must remain flexible in our public stewardship approach to address conservation opportunities as they arise.
• Leverage public dollars using all conservation tools available.
• Work with willing landowners to secure conservation goals on private land where possible.
• Use the criteria in this report to guide conservation activities while maintaining flexibility to achieve conservation goals when opportunities present themselves.
• Look to conserve large parcels first as they provide the most open space values.
The Idaho Fish and Game acquisition of Hammer Flats will pay back the serial levy account for future acquisitions, which in turn will allow for more recreational access in places where access is more available to folks on the north-central and north-western edges of town, where the city’s population is most focused. For these reasons we support the completion of this land transaction as in the public interest.