T he Teton River Basin has been ranked the number one private lands conservation priority area within the entire Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for its combination of ecological irreplaceability and vulnerability. This is because of its rare and sensitive plant and animal species and populations, the full spectrum of vegetative, abiotic, and aquatic habitat features, and because of the large, wide-ranging animals that depend upon it, such as elk. According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game the area also offers important habitat for over 42 Species of Greatest Conservation Need.
Among Teton Basin’s most notable ecological features, which support the greatest diversity of plants and animals, are its prominent wetlands. Teton Basin has been ranked as the number six priority for wetland conservation in the entire state. These wetlands include expansive areas of emergent marshes and sloughs, and less extensive, but vitally important forested wetlands dominated by aspen and cottonwood. These wetlands are recognized as important habitat for many rare plant and animal species. Of special importance are Teton County’s fens, which have organic soils (peat) and are fed by groundwater. Fens may take thousands of years to form and are considered irreplaceable.
Teton Basin supports continentally significant habitat for a number of bird species including nesting and pre-migration staging sandhill cranes, breeding long-billed curlew, wintering trumpeter swans, and year-round habitat for Columbian sharp-tailed grouse. All of these are Species of Greatest Conservation Need.