Imagine a place so special that it’s rarely touched by time or progress. Silver Creek Preserve in central Idaho fits that description – more than 800 acres of a verdant valley, close to a high desert plain and inhabited by a diversity of wildlife.
What makes Silver Creek Preserve so special? The creek itself, fed by springs in the Picabo Hills, has abundant trout, but in the valley, visitors often see coyotes, bobcats, deer, elk, and a variety of birds and insects. Bird watching, hiking, hunting and fishing, and canoeing are popular activities here. The landscape of the preserve – as seen from the nature trail – is often bathed in soft, colorful sunlight.
The area is rich in farmland, too – barley farmers have been long known the value of the land. In fact, the quality of the barley grown there is so good that it attracted the top brass of the Coors Brewing Co.
“This area has the best barley that MillerCoors gets,” says John Stevenson, a central Idaho farmer, of the brewery family of companies. “Bill Coors used to come every year and talk to the growers. He really took an interest in their barley.”
MillerCoors, which still recognizes the importance of keeping the Silver Creek area unspoiled, partnered with The Nature Conservancy in promoting water stewardship in the valley. The partnership helps farmers improve their water conservation efforts. Irrigating a field with a pivot setup can use as much as 2.5 million gallons of water in one rotation – but MillerCoors’ support helped farmers adjust their pivots to save water.
“With the controls that we’re installing, we’ll save about 419,000 gallons of water each rotation,” says farmer Cindy Mann.
MillerCoors’ water stewardship benefits farmers but works toward the good of the entire Silver Creek area as well.
“Partners like MillerCoors have made a difference for Silver Creek and are helping us shape a bright future for the creek,” says Matt Miller, the Nature Conservancy’s director of communications.