LLC & MLLC Property Bismark Meadows Bonner County, Idaho

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1 Vital Ground Property Management Plan LLC & MLLC Property Bismark Meadows Bonner County, Idaho December 10, 2009 (updated 2/12/13) Ryan Lutey The Vital Ground Foundation Building T-2, Fort Missoula Road Missoula, MT

2 1) Property Details a. Tax parcel number(s): RP 61N05W233601A b. Acquisition date: December 30, 2009 c. Method of acquisition: Bargain purchase, fee-title acquisition from LLC & MLLC, a limited liability corporation organized under the laws of the state of Washington. d. Property size: 57 acres e. Property location (see locator map below) i. Nearest Town: Nordman, Bonner County, Idaho ii. Section 23 T61N R5W iii. Lat./Long: " N, " W iv. Approximate elevation: 2670 ft. f. Physical description: The property is relatively even terrain consisting of a mix of restored wetlands and dense forest, and containing a segment of Idaho's designated "Class I" Reeder Creek and its associated riparian areas. The property is heavily vegetated on its northern portions, with the southern portion exhibiting more open, wetland vegetation associated with the Bismark Meadows complex. There is on existing road segment entering the property from a gated section of U.S. Forest Service road at the northeast corner of the property, however, the road is not maintained and retains its vegetative cover year-round. There is no other motorized access to the property. The property is difficult to access in the winter due to deep snow cover, and portions of the property are inaccessible during the spring due to significant standing water. g. Access to property: From the post office in Nordman, Idaho, drive south on Highway 57 approximately ¼ mile to its intersection with an unmarked Forest Service Road. Turn right (west) onto road and travel approximately.5 miles to a junction where the access road is gated in two directions (roughly south and to the west farther down the road). Park at the southern (left) gate and walk down the road to the property boundary. There is currently no motorized access permitted to the property. h. Forest stewardship or other existing plans: The property is covered in part by an NRCS Wetland Reserve Program conservation easement and additional documentation is on record at the NRCS office in Sandpoint. i. Previous land use(s): The land was held for non-motorized recreational enjoyment by the previous owner and contains no improvements. j. Legal information: Approximately 46 acres of the property were placed under conservation easement through the NRCS Wetland Reserve Program during This easement restricts subdivision, development and fiber production - including forest management and grazing activities - on portions of the property. 2

3 Vital Ground Locator Map LLC & MLCC Property LLC & MLCC Property in Bismark Meadows 3

4 2) Current Status of species targeted for conservation The Selkirk Grizzly Bear population is currently listed under the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species. In 1999, the Selkirk population was deemed to be warranted for endangered status but was precluded by other priority species listings. There are an estimated grizzly bears in the Selkirk Recovery Zone, with numbers divided between the Canadian and U.S. portions of the ecosystems. The factors affecting grizzly bears in both British Columbia and Idaho are largely related to human development. One of the factors negatively affecting the Selkirk grizzly population is a loss of seasonal habitat due to development on private lands in the lowlands, such as is occurring through much of Kootenai Valley, Idaho. Sanitation is another issue of concern, as grizzly bears come into conflict at private residences seeking food rewards from garbage and other attractants that are not properly stored. 3) Adjacent land uses a. Idaho Panhandle National Forest: The Idaho Panhandle National Forest manages its lands in accordance with a multiple use mandate. Recently the Forest has prepared a plan to conduct extensive thinning and fuels reduction on USFS lands in the Reeder Creek area. This project will have potential to impact the availability of wildlife cover and habitat us in areas adjacent to the LLC & MLLC property. Because forest management activities have not yet occurred, Vital Ground remains uncertain as to the long term effects of this project on our property. b. Private (Vital Ground's "Barnes Cabin" Property): Vital Ground purchased approximately 18 acres south and east of the LLC Property in A cabin existing on the property at the time of purchase has since been leased to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game for use in the department's law enforcement and biological field activities. c. Private Property (Vital Ground's "John and Michelle Barnes" Property): Vital Ground purchased approximately 327 acres adjacent to the west and south boundaries of the subject property in December, Portions of that property are also protected by a WRP easement. 4) Special management considerations/restrictions Any management activities that may involve the removal of wood fiber should be done in accordance with the conservation easement held on the property by Natural Resource Conservation Service. Bismark Meadows provides habitat to numerous rare and sensitive plant species, and all noxious/invasive weed control or any other vegetation management should be carried out only by qualified contractors. 4

5 5) Conservation goals, management objectives and management actions a. Conservation goal: Maximize the effectiveness of the property as a secure seasonal grizzly bear habitat and as linkage to larger adjacent blocks of protected wildlife habitat. Management Objective Maintain the property in its current undeveloped state o Management Actions No action required at this time. Management Objective Minimize conflicts between humans and grizzly bears o Management Actions: Limited non-motorized public access will be allowed only at times when there is likely to be little use by grizzly bears. Vital Ground will require written permission for public access. (See Recreational Activity Matrix) Management Objective Minimize opportunities for mistaken identification of grizzly bears to occur during bear hunting season. o Management Actions: Bear hunting is not allowed on the property. b. Conservation goal: Maintain and restore the ecological health of the land to support a diverse array of native flora and fauna. Management Objective Protect native vegetation and maintain the property s usefulness for wildlife. o Management Actions: Monitor the property for noxious/invasive plant species; Implement a weed control program for invasive plant species. c. Conservation goal: Provide opportunities for conservation education and wildlife viewing activities that will not conflict with the property s usefulness to grizzly bears. Management Objective Maintain positive relations with adjacent landowners, partner agencies and the local community. o Management Actions: Vital Ground maintains a positive working relationship with the Idaho Fish and Game employees who work at Bismark Meadows and lease the Barnes Cabin Property. Vital Ground remains in contact with the landowners at Bismark Meadows and is seeking conservation opportunities with new partners in the area. Management Objective Provide on-site wildlife interpretive displays and established viewing areas. o Management Actions To be developed at a later date. 5

6 Public Recreation Activity Matrix LLC & MLLC Property at Bismark Meadows ACTIVITY PERMITTED PROHIBITED CONDITIONS Public access for nonconsumptive Written permission required. activities Allowed only at times when (hiking, bird watching there is likely to be little use by and wildlife viewing) grizzly bears. Motorized Public Access Camping Hunting - Bear Hunting Other Carnivores Hunting - Deer and Elk Hunting - Waterfowl Hunting - Upland Bird Trapping 6) Management funding and costs Vital Ground has established a Stewardship and Legal Defense Fund to assist with the ongoing stewardship and management costs for its conservation properties and easements. It is Vital Ground s policy to place $5,000 - $10,000 in the Stewardship and Legal Defense Fund for each conservation easement or land parcel acquired. These funds may be contributed by the landowner, a third-party donor, or transferred from another Vital Ground fund. This fund is managed as a quasi-endowment and its purpose is to: Serve as a legal defense fund should Vital Ground ever have to defend a conservation easement through litigation. The fund corpus may be invaded for this purpose. Interest from the fund may be used to assist with the annual stewardship and maintenance costs associated with Vital Ground s conservation lands and easements. Vital Ground placed $10,000 in the Stewardship and Legal Defense Fund on behalf of the LLC & MLLC Property following the sale closing. 7) Partnerships with other agencies and interested parties Idaho Fish and Game maintains a regular presence at Bismark Meadows for research purposes and to manage human and wildlife interaction. This is accomplished primarily through a lease agreement for the Barnes Cabin. 6

7 8) Recommended monitoring schedule and areas of special emphasis Vital Ground land staff will conduct at least two monitoring visits semi-annually. These visits will occur more frequently in the event of specific management concerns on the property. LLC & MLLC Property Aerial Photo 7

8 LLC & MLLC Topographic Map 8

9 LLC & MLLC Property photos Southeast property corner looking east to Hwy. 57 Looking west along south property line 9

10 Access pullout along Hwy. 57 on south side of Reeder Creek Reeder Creek exiting property under Hwy

11 Looking south at USFS gate north of subject property Ditch at forest edge running generally east/west through property 11

12 Bridge remains crossing ditch Northwest property corner 12

13 Looking north to property boundary from interior North property Boundary with USFS lands 13

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