Crapo: Clearwater Basin Collaborative funding could mean hundreds of local jobs

Crapo: Clearwater Basin Collaborative funding could mean hundreds of local jobs
LEWISTON - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo says Central Idaho is closer to funding for a program that could bring several million dollars and more than 350 jobs to North Central Idaho and the Clearwater Basin over the next ten years.

Crapo made the announcement Friday at a news conference at his Lewiston office and live on KLEW Action News.

Crapo convened the Clearwater Basin Collaborative two years ago in Lewiston, comprised of a wide range of individuals and groups interested in public lands management policy in the Clearwater and Nez Perce Forests.

Crapo says the Forest Service is recommending the consensus-building effort as a national model of collaborative land management. He says the plans could end decades of conflict over elk habitat, wolf management, timber harvesting and the restoration of streams and fish management.

If this project is chosen, the funding will restore hundreds of jobs and could improve access and speed local input on federal land management.

Crapo said he has spoken with Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell about the project. Tidwell served the Idaho and Montana region of the Forest Service before being promoted to forest chief and is familiar with the project. Collaborative Co-Chair Alex Irby predicted it has an excellent chance at the funding because the Clearwater Collaborative is so unique.

A final decision about the project, and the funding, could come as soon as this summer, according to Crapo.

County Commissioners from Idaho and Clearwater Counties joined Crapo and other members of the Collaborative group for the announcement.