Official Government Website

The Program

Founded in 1992, the Upper Salmon Basin Watershed Program (USBWP) is a community-driven partnership. Landowners voluntarily work together with local, state, and federal partners who share a vision for common-sense, scientifically sound protection and restoration of our waters. We collaborate to improve habitat for salmon and resident fish while respecting and balancing the needs of irrigated agriculture and strengthening the local economy.

The USBWP’s staff, affiliated with the Idaho Governor’s Office of Species Conservation, helps landowners develop restoration projects, assists with the permitting process, oversees the work, and monitors outcomes. Additionally, the USBWP seeks and manages major funding support. Partner agencies also finance and implement efforts through the program. And landowners who host projects share the cost, usually with time and labor. Local businesses do the majority of the work on the ground. Primary funding for the USBWP is provided by the Bonneville Power Administration.

The USBWP meets regularly with a “Tech Team” of stakeholders who live in the community, including ranchers, resource managers, and nonprofit conservation organizations. Together, the Tech Team evaluates proposed projects, provides guidance to staff regarding funding and implementation, and develops plans for the future. The USBWP has become a clearinghouse for testing ideas, sharing information, and—most of all—for cooperation and partnership built on trust.

Landowners get tunnel vision sometimes, like biologists do. We can’t see anything but cows, and biologists can’t see anything but fish. In this relationship, we’ve had to teach one another.

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