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Projects and Partnerships at the Diane Moore Nature Center

By Greg Kaltenecker, Diane and Winston Moore Family Endowed Executive Director

It has been my personal pleasure to work with so many local partners in developing the Diane Moore Nature Center thus far. In past newsletters we’ve highlighted the wonderful partnership between Boise State University and Micron Technology, Inc. that resulted in the design and construction of the new Boise River side channel.

The side channel at the Diane Moore Nature Center with trees lying in the water that were cut by beavers. There's a little snow on the ground
The recently restored historic side channel flowing through the Cottonwoods along the Boise River. Photo Credit: John Schisel

We’ve told you about working with habitat restoration partners like College of Western Idaho, Golden Eagle Audubon’s Treasure Valley Native Plant Network, The Nature Conservancy, and so many others!

It is so rewarding to me to seek out these like-minded groups, brainstorm and plan, and then actually do something productive and positive on the ground!

Being able to come back later and say “we did that”, or watch as seedlings turn into plants, flower and then go to seed, providing real wildlife habitat!

dozens of tiny fish silhouettes can be seen just under the waters surface. They are hiding in branching tangled roots
In this first summer after construction, hundreds of small fish hatched in the side channel. The root wads we installed provided perfect rearing habitat for these fish to grow! Photo Credit: Greg Kaltenecker

As construction activities on the side channel were winding down last winter, I met Troy Pearse from the Boise Valley Fly Fishers (BVFF), a local organization of like-minded fishermen who strive to educate anglers about conservation.

Troy explained to me that the club focuses on access projects for fishermen as well as efforts to educate the public about conservation and habitat.

We quickly “hit it off” and began planning future collaborations at the Diane Moore Nature Center. Of particular interest to Troy was the new IBO side channel. His club’s members were excited to become involved in monitoring the channel for spawning trout, but we also discussed IBO’s desire to create interpretive signage highlighting the channel’s many benefits to fish and other wildlife.

an interpretive sign features a large illustration showing rainbow trout fry swimming underneath a log and twigs. The title reads "side channel habitat". At the bottom it says "side channels are important for fish and wildlife!"
New interpretive sign educating users about the benefits of side channels and especially larger wood to fish.

“BVFF’s mission is fly fishing Education, Access and Conservation and I think our partnering work at the Diane Moore Nature Center is the perfect match!” -Troy Pearse, BVFF

With design assistance from Idaho Fish and Game’s Watchable Wildlife Program Coordinator Deniz Aygen, Design Artist Nancy Jasper, local artist Link Jackson, and Troy himself, we quickly began sketching out ideas for interpretive signs that would tell the compelling story of the side channel’s benefits to Boise River trout.

an interpretive sign says "wild trout area". It has an illustration of the trout life cycle with drawings of spawning adults, eggs, newly hatched Alevins, medium sized Parr, and adult trout
New interpretive sign educating users about trout life cycle and the benefits of side channels to spawning fish.

We also designed a beautiful anti-litter sign for the nature center. After several months of sending drafts back and forth we finalized three striking new sign designs. Boise State’s Sign Shop printed the sharp new signs, and Troy organized a group of BVFF volunteers to install them. A relatively seamless process, facilitated by capitalizing on all of the individual partners’ skills and strengths. A brief brush with poison ivy during the sign installation resulted in about 6 weeks of misery for me, but overall the experience of partnering with BVFF was awesome!

an image of a sign that reads: "Keep it wild, fish and wildlife need clean habitat. Please keep this area clean, pack out all trash". In the middle of the sign is a beautiful aerial photo of the Boise River at sunset
Beautiful ant-litter signs designed by BVFF and Idaho Department of Fish and Game recently placed at the Diane Moore Nature Center.

“We are very pleased to have these wildlife-focused anti-litter signs on the Boise River!”-Troy Pearse, BVFF

During one of our site visits, we began discussing IBO’s desire to maintain river access for fishermen as plans for the Diane Moore Nature Center move forward. Showing Troy the most-used river access point at the far upstream end of the property, we noted how use of this site had exploded with the recent boom in the city’s population, and how we saw a huge spike in use of the area during the Covid pandemic. In a few short months, the river access had gone from a narrow foot path to a “highway”, quickly eroding into the river and damaging native vegetation.

eroded trail before stairs DMNC_Troy Pearse
Access along this steep trail was taking its toll on the banks of the Boise River. Photo Credit: Troy Pearse

 Sounded like another perfect project for BVFF!

A few months later, after numerous meetings and phone conversations with various stakeholders, BVFF submitted a grant proposal to the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation-Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s non-profit fundraising arm.

Near the end of summer we found out the proposal was funded!

Just like that, Troy was hard at work organizing a work party, purchasing materials and equipment, and pulling in local expertise. Randy Lancaster, owner of Dig! Custom Gardening, a local landscaping firm, was eager to help organize and lead the construction effort.

a group of people working together building wooden stairs outside
BVFF Members hard at work on the new angler access stairs at the Diane Moore Nature Center. Photo Credit: Greg Kaltenecker

A couple of weekend work parties later, we can now boast a beautiful and sustainable set of access stairs that will serve fishermen and other river users for decades to come. A second phase of the project requires a stream alteration permit to complete the stairs below the high-water mark, but we hope to install this final section during the coming spring.

a view from the top of newly dug stairs made from lumber and hard packed dirt. The stairs stretch down the banks through willows, all the way to the Boise River
The new Boise River access stairs at the Diane Moore Nature Center. Photo Credit: Greg Kaltenecker

Looking back at this last year, we’ve made some pretty phenomenal progress at the Diane Moore Nature Center, thanks to our many, many community partners!

A new side channel, beautiful interpretive signs, a new set of access stairs, continued native plantings, and more! We thank you all and look forward to working together for many years to come!

This article is part of our 2022 end of the year newsletter! View the full newsletter here, or click “older posts” below to read the next article.

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