The Valley County Board of Commissioners and United Payette entered a Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, to protect endowment lands in North Fork Payette.
The MOU gives a structure for Valley County and United Payette to create a short-term agreement with the Idaho Department of Lands for the endowment land around Payette Lake. The non-exclusive agreements work to conserve open space, natural resources, and provide recreation sites for the public.
“United Payette is honored to work alongside Valley County to chart a path forward for our cherished endowment lands,” a member of United Payette’s steering team Jeff Mousseau said. “These agreements will provide immediate assurances to all Idahoans while allowing time for long-term solutions to be developed, reviewed, and implemented.”
The news release said the agreements are funded by United Payette and held by Valley County.
Within the MOU is an outline of the parties’ intent to create a citizens’ advisory council. The council will build diverse support for future solutions for Valley County endowment lands.
“Valley County is excited to partner with United Payette to achieve conservation goals within the County. The signing of an MOU and the development of a citizens advisory board are important first steps in building a partnership to implement a shared vision for these treasured areas. I commend all involved for their hard work, collaboration and determination in crafting this partnership and working with IDL and the Land Board to provide mutually agreeable solutions,” said Valley County Commissioner Dave Bingaman.
The Idaho Wildlife Federation wrote in the release that this represents a ‘significant’ start to conserving endowment lands.
Trident land swap
Endowment lands around Payette have been a hot topic around Valley County since Trident Holdings proposed a land swap in the summer of 2020. The swap garnered a lot of negative feedback from county officials and the public. Most recently, BoiseDev reported the Idaho Land Board denied the swap for reconsideration.