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Open-File Report 2012-1039

Socioeconomic Issues for the Bear River Watershed Conservation Area Land Protection Plan

By Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber, William Gascoigne, and Lynne Koontz

Thumbnail of and link to report PDFAbstract

The Bear River Watershed Conservation Area is located in the Bear River Watershed, a vast basin covering fourteen counties across three states. Located in Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho, the watershed spans roughly 7,500 squares miles: 1,500 squares miles in Wyoming; 2,700 squares miles in Idaho; and 3,300 squares miles in Utah (Utah Division of Water Resources, 2004). Three National Wildlife Refuges are currently contained within the boundary of the BRWCA: the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah, the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Idaho, and the Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming.

In 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a Preliminary Project Proposal and identified the Bear River Watershed Conservation Area as having high-value wildlife habitat. This finding initiated the Land Protection Planning process, which is used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to study land conservation opportunities including adding lands to the National Wildlife Refuge System. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to include part of the Bear River Watershed Conservation Area in the Refuge System by acquiring up to 920,000 acres of conservation easements from willing landowners to maintain landscape integrity and habitat connectivity in the region. The analysis described in this report provides a profile of the social and economic conditions in the Bear River Watershed Conservation Area and addresses social and economic questions and concerns raised during public involvement in the Land Protection Planning process.

First posted March 13, 2012

For additional information contact:
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Fort Collins, CO 80526-8118

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Suggested citation:

Thomas, C.C., Huber, Christopher, Gascoigne, William, and Koontz, Lynne, 2012, Socioeconomic issues for the Bear River Watershed Conservation Land Area Protection Plan: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1039, 15 p.



Socioeconomic Profile

Land Use and Ownership Changes Surrounding the Refuge

References Cited

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