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Phosphate mine deal creates conservation fund

As part of a mining lease agreement, a new conservation fund has been established in eastern Idaho.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management approved the Rasmussen Valley phosphate mine. In exchange, the fertilizer company, Itafos Conda LLC, provided $1.2 million to form the Southeast Idaho Wildlife Mitigation Fund.

Funds will be awarded to successful applicants by a Habitat Improvement Team comprised of natural resource, land management, and Tribal trustees. They will use a public forum to consider and evaluate proposed habitat protection and enhancement projects.

” This Fund provides tremendous opportunities for landowners and managers to enhance, restore and conserve wildlife habitat on their property, ” said Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust Executive Director Matt Lucia. ” We invite the public to participate in this process and attend an informational public open house to meet the Team and learn about the request for proposal (RFP) requirements, the scoring process and timelines for awarding and distributing funds. ”

That open house will be held May 1 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Regional office in Pocatello, at 1345 Barton Road. The application period will be Monday, April 1 through May 31, 2019.

Trustees for the new fund include the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho Department of Lands, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Caribou Targhee National Forest, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. The Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust will facilitate the public process and coordinate distribution of funds.

“The application period opens on Monday, April 1 and will close at 5 pm on May 31, 2019, ” explains Lucia.

You can learn more about the project here.

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