Paul and Karen DeForest own 6,468 acres in Ash Valley that they use for livestock and hay production. The previous landowner identified portions of their land that they wanted to improve and applied for grant funds through EQIP and the Pit RCD. Several projects were funded and Paul and Karen “inherited” them as part of the property transaction.
Habitat types occurring on their property include grassland, wet meadow, sagebrush scrub, and juniper woodland. Ash Creek flows through their property for an estimated linear length of two miles. An estimated 400 acres of their grassland and wet meadow is irrigated by diverting water at the eastern end of their ownership into a conveyance ditch. The pasture is flood irrigated by gravity flow and the water does not re-enter Ash Creek.
To date, the Pit RCD assisted them with the: 1) installation of roughly 1,320 feet of fencing along the northern portion of their property and roughly 2,700 feet of fencing along the southern portion to better manage livestock along Ash Creek; and 2) installation of a “water gap” in the newly southern fenced area.
These projects, when combined with other projects with NRCS, have improved habitat conditions throughout the ranch. These improvements include more vigorous aquatic and riparian vegetation along Ash Creek, and improved pasture management for livestock with the installation of an offsite watering structure and development of springs used for livestock water. In addition, roughly 3,250 feet of fence was built along Ash Creek as part of a Wildlife Habitat Improvement Project (WHIP) in 2002. NRCS plans to assist the landowner with rangeland planting and juniper treatment in the future.