Press Releases

Simpson Secures Funding for Rangeland Research in Wood River Valley

Simpson Secures Funding for Rangeland Research in Wood River Valley 

Washington, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson has secured $1.325 million in a recent government funding bill for the University of Idaho to develop education and research training at the Rinker Rock Creek Ranch field station near Hailey, Idaho by expanding curricula in rangeland management and animal science.     

“Idaho has long been a model for successful integration of working rangelands and conservation interests in the western United States,” said Simpson.  “With this funding, the University of Idaho will conduct cutting-edge research into livestock grazing and sage grouse management, water quantity and quality conservation, and techniques to combat invasive grasses and wildfires.  These are issues we know well in Idaho, and the research performed at the Rinker Rock Creek Ranch field station will benefit our entire state, and our neighbors in the Intermountain West.” 

“This investment will allow U of I to address some critical infrastructure needs that will greatly expand the practical teaching, research and outreach capabilities at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch – much of which addresses the uniquely Western issues that arise at the intersection of ranching, recreation and conservation,” said Michael P. Parrella, Dean of the University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.  “This living laboratory allows us to preserve the rangeland environment we all value and we are thankful that Congressman Simpson shares a commitment to these resources that are fundamental to a thriving Idaho.”  

The Rinker Rock Creek Ranch is a unique learning facility that serves as both a working ranch and research laboratory for determining best-practices for land management.  The funding, which was included in recent government funding legislation as a Community Project Funding program, will allow the University of Idaho to purchase field technology including GPS transmitters, modular weather stations, spotting scopes, and make facility improvements for indoor instruction.  

New in Fiscal Year 2022, Community Project Funding allows Members of Congress to submit worthy proposals from government agencies and non-profit organizations in their districts.  To ensure transparency and accountability, the House Appropriations Committee established several new rules that every project submitted for funding must follow.  For a request to be considered for funding in FY22, the following conditions were met: 

  • Members certified that they, their spouse, and their immediate family have no financial interest in the projects they requested.  
  • Members posted every CPF request online simultaneously with their submission to the Committee on Appropriations.  
  • Members provided evidence of community support that were compelling factors in their decision to select certain projects.  
  • Members were allowed a maximum of 10 CPF requests.  
  • No CPF grants were directed towards for-profit grantees.  
  • Total CPF spending was capped at 1 percent of discretionary spending. 

“The reforms put in place by the Appropriations Committee ensured the necessary openness and transparency so that every taxpayer had a chance to review and comment on projects funded through this process,” said Congressman Simpson.  “I am grateful for the opportunity to have a more direct role in supporting the communities in my district rather than leaving funding decisions up to bureaucrats in the Biden Administration or letting the funds go to another congressional district.  The positive impact of these projects will be felt by community members across Southeast Idaho, and I look forward to watching them come to fruition.” 

For more information on the individual projects, visit Congressman Simpson’s website here