The Bowen Canyon Bald Eagle Sanctuary has been designated an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). It provides crucial wintering habitat for a significant number of Idaho?s transient Bald Eagles. Bowen Canyon lies approximately 10 miles south of American Falls and at the north end of the Deep Creek Mountains. American Falls Reservoir and the Snake River provide fish and waterfowl, which are the primary food base for eagles wintering in Bowen Canyon. Bowen Canyon itself provides roosting habitat for this population of Bald Eagles. Pockets of Douglas fir snags are used as roost trees, upon which the eagles have a clear line of sight to American Falls Reservoir.

Ornithological Summary

Bowen Canyon has been identified as an Important Bird Area, and an ACEC, because of its importance as a winter roost for Bald Eagles. Between 20 and 55 birds per day can be seen at this location. Accounts from local people indicate that Bald Eagles have historically used this site for roosting, and no alternate roost sites in the area have been recorded.

Conservation Issues

The primary problem in the past has been snow mobile activity in the area. Mixed ownership is also an issue, as the lower part of the canyon is privately owned. Because this site is an Area of Critical Environmental Concern, there are no post, pole, firewood, or commercial timber sales allowed, oil and gas leases are limited to protect habitat, the area is closed to snowmobile use from Nov. 15th to April 15th, the area was withdrawn from mineral claims under the 1872 mining law, and no geothermal or phosphate exploration is allowed.

Habitat

Forested habitats in the Area of Critical Environmental Concern tend to be north and east facing slopes. There are approx. 644 acres of commercial forestland in the area. Approx. 415 acres are Doug-Fir/ maple habitat. Another 229 acres is in the sub alpine fir/ maple habitat. The soil in the canyon bottom is Lanoak silt loam, with a 20-30 percent slope. Average snowfall is 5 feet. Herbaceous vegetation includes bluebunch wheatgrass, Idaho fescue, big sagebrush, and antelope bitterbrush. Soils on the north and east aspects are the Moohoop- Pavohroo complex.

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