Rinker Rock Creek ranch research center gets $1.34 million for upgrades

Students at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch observe as University of Idaho professor Jason Karl demonstrates how to dig a pit and assess soil conditions in his course, “Integrating GIS Field Studies in Rangelands.”

In 2019, the University of Idaho acquired access to the 10,400-acre Rinker Rock Creek Ranch in Croy Canyon. Combined with 11,000 acres of surrounding BLM land, the rustic ranch has provided public access as well as a research center for multidisciplinary studies of wildlife conservation, grazing practices, restoration and recreation.

“I am not aware of any collaborative efforts like this regionally,” said Tracey N. Johnson, assistant professor of Habitat Ecology at the University of Idaho and director of research at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch.

The cattle ranch has been described as a “living laboratory,” and is home to many wildlife species, including beavers, deer, elk, owls, moose, eagles and many species of songbirds and waterfowl. The ranch is home to the yellow-billed cuckoo, a species whose populations are in “steep decline,” and the greater sage grouse, which is considered threatened in most of its range.

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