Camas Prairie, Elmore County, Idaho

Category Archives: Wildlife

Many People Think the Cat Creek Energy Project Deserves More Scrutiny

(Last updated on February 5, 2022) The developers of the Cat Creek Energy (CCE) Project seem to be trying to tell authorities their project is so inconsequential and simple they should be allowed to move forward without doing the required studies and research necessary to prevent environmental damage around a large section of land just 2o miles northeast of Mountain Home, Idaho. 

In response to CCE’s attempt to sneak out on doing the right thing for the residents of Idaho, the City of Boise wrote a letter telling the regulatory agency that there is much concern about the entire project. Read the full letter below. 


“Many People Think the Cat Creek Energy Project Deserves More Scrutiny, Not Less Scrutiny”

The proposed location of the Cat Creek Energy Project 


Some of the facts about this complex project

  1. The Cat Creek Energy project isn’t simple. It’s a complex project that will greatly affect lands within Elmore County.
  2. Constructing the proposed Cat Creek Reservoir will entail also building a powerhouse, transmission infrastructure, transporting equipment, building new roads, and permanently disrupting a water supply diversion will surely degrade the environment and wildlife habitat of deer and elk within game Management Units 39, 43, 44 and 45.
  3. The Cat Creek Energy project is controversial despite what the developers want you to believe. There are fifteen organizations/entities that have submitted documentation and data opposing the CCE water rights applications to Idaho’s Department of Water Resources to divert 100,000 acre-feet of water out of the Anderson Ranch Reservoir. By definition, that makes it controversial. 
  4. Cat Creek Energy falsely insists the studies that will be completed by the US Government for the proposed plan to raise Anderson Ranch Reservoir by 6 feet will answer some or even all of the environmental issues facing the Cat Creek Energy project. It can’t and it won’t because they are completely different projects. 


A City of Boise Letter About a Complex Project


Submission Date: 1/31/2021

From: Mary R Grant, Boise Deputy City Attorney

Dear Secretary,

On behalf of the City of Boise (City), we submit these comments in response to the request by Cat Creek Energy (CCE) to utilize the Traditional Licensing Process (TLP) for licensing this project. For FERC’s consideration as to whether the TLP is appropriate, rather than the default Integrated Licensing Process (ILP), we offer the following:

1. Likelihood of timely license issuance: No comment.

2. Complexity of the resource issues: CCE states they have conducted extensive research and data collection on potential resource issues and intend to use the Bureau of Reclamation’s (Reclamation) Anderson Ranch Dam raise feasibility study and EIS as supporting documentation of resource issues. CCE acknowledged in the transmittal letter that the project is large but believes the resource issues and environmental impacts in the area qualify as minor. The City disagrees that the impact on resources and the environment in the project area qualify as minor. A project of this nature and scale is inherently complex. Constructing a new reservoir with powerhouse and transmission infrastructure, transporting equipment, building new roads, and permanently disrupting a water supply diversion is dramatically different than raising an existing dam 6 feet as Reclamation is proposing. The City is concerned that much of the information provided in the recent past (of the studies noted above) is research and data that has only limited applicability and relevance to the extent and nature of this specific project.

3. Level of anticipated controversy: CCE indicated a level of coordination with local, state, and federal agencies and stakeholders that would represent this project as having a low level of controversy. The City is one of fifteen original protestants of the CCE water right applications to Idaho’s Department of Water Resources to divert 100,000 acre-feet of water out of the Anderson Ranch Reservoir, suggesting otherwise. These protestants include state and local agencies, irrigation districts and canal companies, environmental groups, and individual water rights holders on the Boise River. Such a broad group of protestants with varied interests and concerns demonstrates the complexity of this large surface water storage project and its potential impacts.

4. Relative cost of the TLP compared to the ILP: No comment.

5. The amount of available information and potential for significant disputes over studies: CCE specifically notes their intent to rely on Reclamation’s feasibility study and EIS as supporting study and data collection for their project in addition to their own research. Again, the City points out that Reclamation’s project and CCE’s project are significantly different in scope and operation, with considerable differences in the magnitude of expected impacts. Reclamation’s feasbility and EIS will shed light on the types of issues to be expected with CCE’s proposed project but should not be used in lieu of a comprehensive suite of project-specific studies to identify a complete list of impacts and the magnitude of those impacts.

6. Other factors believed to be pertinent: The City is supportive of clean energy projects in the Treasure Valley and across the West. We believe that is the future of energy production. However, these projects must be accomplished while also protecting and enhancing the environmental resources along the Boise River and within this watershed.

We are available for further comment or clarification by contacting 208-608-7950.

Best regards,

Mary Grant
Deputy City Attorney

cc: John Roldan, Water Resources Manager

Originally published on February 5, 2022.

We believe the entire Cat Creek Energy project needs to be significantly scaled back or canceled altogether.



More Are Concerned About Our Big Game Migration Corridors

Now is the time to have dialogue as a community and share knowledge about how we can create sustainable methods for protecting wildlife, while still respecting the need for ranches and farms. It’s about coexisting,” said Hunt To Eat Owner, Mahting Putelis.

We know many local hunters, outdoorsmen and wildlife enthusiasts are dead set against the Cat Creek Energy project that is planned for the backcountry of Elmore County. We all realize that this mega-energy project will have adverse affects on our deer, elk, pronghorn, raptor and game bird populations, as wells as our local fishery and water quality. Our local group of concerned citizens have friends in neighboring states also.

The Idaho Wildlife Federation (IWF) is teaming up with “Hunt to Eat” to raise awareness and to educate people about wildlife migrations issues in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

The Wildlife Federation and Hunt to Eat have organized a series of kickoff “migration” celebrations with the second event party set for Boise on May 1, 2019. This may be a good event to connect with others in the area to talk about protecting our deer, elk and pronghorn migration corridors in Elmore County.

Connect With Others

Connect with the Idaho Wildlife Federation on Facebook at or through their website at

Connect with Hunt to Eat on Facebook at or on their website at

Mark your calendar for this May 1, 2019 event in Boise and watch the above online links for more details about the celebration as it unfolds.




Why “Harry” Believes Judge Baskin Will Remand the Cat Creek Energy Project Back to P & Z

Taken on Peak 5915 looking over the Castle Rocks and Wood Creek area of Elmore County, Idaho


Many Elmore County residents believe a District Court judge should remand the entire Cat Creek Energy project approval back to the County Planning and Zoning Commission (P & Z) for new and honest hearings. Our entire “Petition for Judicial Review” document is filled with legal, moral and ethical reason why we believe the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) erred in approving this ill-conceived project. A project covering 3,730 acres in the Elmore County, Idaho backcountry.

Hunting, Fishing, Wildlife and Scenic Beauty is at Stake

We realize how time-consuming attending the P & Z Commission meetings, hearing and deliberations in 2016 became. No one really believed Elmore County would every approve the Cat Creek Energy project. And those people were right. The P & Z Commission denied the permits Cat Creek Energy needed to begin the process of getting state and federal approval for their mega-energy project.

But then in 2017, the Elmore County Commissioners overruled their own P & Z Commission and handed that Gooding-based corporation the keys to our very own backcountry, the Anderson Ranch Reservoir and South Fork of the Boise River fishery, and will threaten our elk, deer and pronghorn populations.

Local Mountain Home, Idaho, resident Harry Taggart, “aka Skip,” testified in front of our county officials and offered the following facts …

Reference: Pages 10 and 11 of the Petition for Judicial Review document at

Harry Taggart, a resident of Mountain Home spoke and informed the Commissioners that he hunts and fishes throughout the South Fork of the Boise River basin, that he opposes the Project “because it would destroy the scenic beauty and environmental diversity of the area known as Wood Creek, which is right at the very doorstep of our splendid Boise and Sawtooth National Forests.”

Mr. Taggart also informed the Commissioners that he has “read and understood the Elmore County Comprehensive Plan, as well as Title 6, Chapter 14 of the Elmore County zoning and development ordinance defining areas of critical concern, which the Elmore County Planning and Zoning Commission is lawfully charged with protecting” and that he had read the minutes of the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to deliberate Cat Creek Energy’s applications and he “agree[s] with the Commissions unanimous rejection of multiple Cat Creek Energy permit applications because they fall short of compliance with a minimum of 12 different Comprehensive Plan standards.

Harry Was Right Back Then and is Still Right

  • Destroying the scenic beauty of our backcounty with 500-foot tall wind turbines will not benefit the residents of Elmore County.

  • In approving the Cat Creek Energy Project, Commissioners Wes Wootan, Bud Corbus, and Al Hofer made a ruling in direct conflict with the county’s own Comprehensive Plan.

You can download and review the entire Petition for Judicial Review at


Take Action

Please help us stop the Cat Creek Energy project from moving forward. Contact County Commissioners Bud Corbus, Wes Wootan and Al Hofer and tell them you are opposed to this ill-conceived mega-energy project.

You can use the county website “Contact Form” at

In addition, many of our elected officials from city mayor and on up the line to U.S. Senators could use some feedback from you. If you need their names or point of contact, we’ve created a list at




Increased Concern for Big Game in the Cat Creek Energy Project Area

On February 9, 2018, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) signed Order 3362 in an effort to protect and preserve wintering habitat and migration corridors in the western U.S for elk, deer, and pronghorn. Within that order is the Smoky Boise Complex area experts believe need special consideration and protection. That complex includes all of the Cat Creek Energy project footprint.

We have been saying for the past year that the proposed Cat Creek Energy project needs to be shut down. And we also have stated our concerns with the elk and deer migration corridor running directly through the landscape this mega-energy project in the backcountry of Elmore County would be built on.

Please take a close look at the map ( and you’ll see our elk, deer and a sizable number of pronghorns live, winter and migrate through this area. Cat Creek Energy has yet to address any of the problems associated with the 500-foot tall wind turbine complex, the 590 acres of fenced in solar panels nor the destruction of habitat that will come from a new 100,000 acre/foot reservoir.

Reference: Please download and review the 25-page document and do your own research. Direct download at

Here are a few things the DOI said in Order 3362

Energy Development is not Compatible With Big Game Species

Many wildlife species must migrate each year to survive as individuals and populations. Land uses such as residential and energy development, fences, roads, and large scale habitat changes due to wildfire or noxious/invasive weeds degrade winter range and disrupt migration routes that allow animals to move from one place to another. Such effects can not only reduce wildlife population growth but can also reduce the harvestable surplus of game species available for hunting, leading to decreases in hunting opportunity and hunters, resulting in an adverse impact to Idaho’s economy and cultural values.

DOI Tells Fish & Game to Protect Migration Pathways

Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and other partners are now only beginning to understand the full scope of how and where movement and migration help sustain native wildlife. It is important for IDFG and stakeholders to manage and conserve the wildlife, their important migration and movement pathways, and associated seasonal habitats such as winter range.

The Complex Identity

Smoky Boise Complex – Winter Range – N of I84 Boise to Mountain Home and US 20 Cat Creek Summit to Hill City

Why this Area was selected: Safety due to wildlife-vehicle collisions. Largest mule deer herd in the state. The area provides and important south aspect winter range for elk and mule deer in the Bennett Mountains and north of I84. It includes summer range in the Upper Boise River – Smokey Area areas and migration areas across US 20.
Habitat types: Primarily sagebrush steppe in the Owyhee Uplands ecological section. Important stopover areas within the corridor: Winter range of south facing Danskin Mountains and foothills to the north of I84. Upper Camas Prairie and the lower Solider Mountains

What Can You Do?

We’ve asked you to contact all three of the Elmore County Commissioners for the past year. It’s still imperative that these commissioners understand you are opposed to the entire Cat Creek Energy project. Use this link to contact the Board of County Commissioners at

We now ask that you contact the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to let them know:

  • The Cat Creek Energy project sits in the middle of a critical wildlife migration and wintering complex.

  • You are opposed to the Cat Creek Energy project.

  • And

  • The D F & G should also state their opposition to the Cat Creek Energy project unless they are looking to decrease the total number of elk and deer in Hunting Units 39, 43, 44 & 45.



Thanks for your help in stopping the Cat Creek Energy project.


Will Highway 20 Become the Next Wind Turbine Corridor?

Is this the future of Highway 20? We hope not.

The segment of Highway 20 that Roger Brooks, an international tourism expert called “one of the best drives in Idaho” could easily become the next wind turbine corridor in the state.

That segment of highway Rogers Brooks was referring to, runs from just north of Mountain Home to Camas Prairie and into our mountain communities of Pine and Featherville.

Cat Creek Energy already has plans to put up forty, 500+ foot tall wind turbines along Cat Creek Summit and partially down the Pine-Featherville Road. We also know that Cat Creek is having troubles getting federal approval for the Pumped Storage Hydroelectric project on the bluffs above and interconnected with Anderson Ranch Reservoir. The developers have stated many times in the past that all three portions of their mega-energy project need to be approved to make it financially viable. If Cat Creek cannot get state or federal approval for the hydroelectric portion, they will likely have to make up for the megawatt shortage by putting up additional wind turbines along Highway 20.

Wind Power Friendly California Rebels Against New Turbines

According to an article on the Daily Wire website (, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted to ban the construction of large solar and wind farms on more than 1 million acres of private land.

Local residents say that solar and wind farms destroy areas like Dagget, Joshua Tree and Lucerne Valley by turning the landscape into eyesores. Sara Fairchild, a resident of Pioneertown, has been working to have California Highway 247 turned into a designated state scenic highway to boost the local economy; she says that would all fall apart in the face of a mega solar farm.”

The local San Bernardino government listened to residents when they asked for a moratorium on new wind and solar farms in the rural parts of the county. Basically, the people said why grow wind and solar farms when we can grow a more profitable tourism industry that won’t destroy the scenery.

What they actually said was basically the same thing opponents to the Cat Creek Energy project are saying.

These vast open areas are precious for their natural, historical and recreational qualities. But they are fragile, and no amount of mitigation can counter the damage that industrial-scale renewable energy projects would cause,” Fairchild told the supervisors. “Once destroyed, these landscapes can never be brought back.”

The big difference between the California mega-energy project locations and the planned Cat Creek Energy location is our Elmore County, Idaho location contains verified wildlife migration corridors, the “threatened” bull trout and no need for the energy Cat Creek says they want to generate.

Spread the Word / Tell the Elected Official We Don’t Want CCE

The Elmore County Commissioners tentatively approved the Cat Creek Energy project even after their own planning and zoning commission said “no way.”

If you are opposed to the Cat Creek Energy project, take action today.

Contact Elmore County Commissioners Corbus, Wootan and Hofer at:


  • Bud Corbus – Phone: (208) 587-2129 ext. 505 Phone: (208)599-1294
  • Wes Wootan – Phone: (208) 587-2129 ext. 505 Phone: (208)599-3131
  • Al Hofer – Phone: (208)587-2129 ext. 505 Phone: (208) 599-1620


Mail Address:

150 South 4th East
Mountain Home, ID 83647


In addition, you might consider sharing this post with friends, family, and co-workers.


Are Hunters Opposed to the Cat Creek Energy Project?

The Cat Creek area provides habitat for an assortment of native wildlife. The project area lies within a major migration corridor for mule deer, elk, and pronghorn moving from high elevation summer habitats to low elevation winter range and back. While the exact pathways and magnitude of the migration has not been quantified, several thousand animals likely use this corridor on an annual basis. Data from elk and mule deer radio-marked during winter in 2015 and 2016 confirmed, considerable seasonal movements through the project area. Energy development has the potential to disrupt these movements.~ The Feb. 1, 2016, Idaho Fish & Game response to the Cat Creek Energy project

Considering the Cat Creek Energy project will consist of wind, solar and hydroelectric “Energy Development,” and that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IF&G) said the project could disrupt elk and deer migration, hunters and all who enjoy the Elmore County backcountry should be opposed to it.


Elk and Deer Herds are Back

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game just releases their 2018 big game harvest report. Things have recently been looking good for elk and deer hunters with harvest numbers remaining above or near 2017 numbers.

Hunters took more mule deer and fewer white-tailed deer in 2018 compared to 2017, while the elk harvest was similar between the two years — dropping by less than 2 percent from 2017 to 2018.

The 2018 elk harvest was about 15.4 percent above the 10-year average. White-tailed deer harvest dipped in 2018 compared to 2017, but gains in the mule deer harvest – largely from spike and two-point bucks – brought the overall deer harvest for 2018 above that of 2017.


Migration Corridor

The planned Cat Creek Energy project would consist of a 590 acre solar plant and a 1,140 acre wind farm in the Cat Creek Summit area, plus a 2,000 acre reservoir on Little Camas Prairie. IF&G said “the project area lies within a major migration corridor for mule deer, elk, and pronghorn moving from high elevation summer habitats to low elevation winter range and back. While the exact pathways and magnitude of the migration has not been quantified, several thousand animals likely use this corridor on an annual basis.”

Will the migration patterns be disrupted?


So, Yes … hunters and backcountry enthusiast should research how this mega-energy project will adversely affect hunting and wildlife in GMU’s 43, 44 and 45 over the lifetime of this ill-conceived project.

Many hunters and local residents have already voiced their concerns and publicly stated their opposition to the Cat Creek Energy project.

How do you stand on this issue?




Please help us get the word out about how bad this project will be for the residents of Elmore County. There are much better locations to site this project where it won’t ruin the viewshed and our hunting heritage.

Share this post with your friends, family, and co-workers.




The Feds are Accepting Comments on a Portion of the Cat Creek Energy Project

Power lines will be running over and through this portion of the Prairie

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) appears to be worried that Cat Creek Energy hasn’t funded their portion of the Contributed Funds Act agreement for the proposed Energy Generation Facility Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project planned for the Little Camas Prairie area northeast of Mountain Home.

How do we know this? According to a letter sent from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to Mr. James T. Carkulis, a managing representative of Cat Creek Energy, LLC, the FERC is surely concerned.

Reference: Download the FERC Letter at

“Subsequent to finalization of the contract 20 months ago, CCE has not yet provided funding to Reclamation.” FERC on 30 Jan 2019

Crazy Complexity of the Cat Creek Energy Project

We know in 2016 that the Elmore County Planning and Zoning Commission would not approve the five Cat Creek Energy conditional use permits they submitted to build a sprawling 5,750-acre energy generating facility in our backcountry.

We also know in 2017, the Elmore County Commissioners ruled against their very own P & Z Commission and approved all five of those conditional use permits (CUP).

We also know Cat Creek Energy (CCE) told the residents of Elmore County many, many times that all five portions of their very complex project needed to be approved and built in order to make the CCE Project financial viable.

And we also know this project is so complex it’s hard to keep the major players in the project straight. Remember there are water, wind, solar, hydroelectric, power line runs and a host of state/federal concerns.

So when the federal government gives the developers of the Cat Creek Energy project an additional three years to get their “ducks in a row” just to complete a few tasks involving one portion of their five-part energy project due to the complexity, we know it’s time to step back and reevaluate the entire project.


What’s Our Main Concern About the Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project

Our main concern pertains to maintaining the water quality and fishery in Anderson Ranch Reservoir.


What Can You Do?

You have until March 20, 2019, to submit comments and motions to intervene,
on the successive permit application for the Cat Creek Energy Generation Facility
Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project No. 14655.

How to File a Comment with the FERC



Please file comments, motions to intervene, notices of intent, and competing applications using the Commission’s eFiling system at

Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at

You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments.

Please Share

If you find the information in this post informative and useful, please share it with your friends, family, and co-workers. Many residents of Elmore County are still unaware of what Cat Creek Energy will be doing to our backcountry.