Friends of the Clearwater is working with University of Idaho professor emeritus Dr. Fred Rabe to gain protective status for 49 Meadows, an intact and highly productive sub-alpine peatland located on the Idaho Panhandle National Forest and adjacent Bureau of Land Management public lands. Peatlands are poorly drained areas whose substrate is periodically saturated with water, and having a layer of peat about 12 inches or more in thickness.
At approximately two hundred-acres in size, 49 Meadows contains forested, scrub-shrub, and herbaceous plant communities, as well as the sensitive-plant species Intermediate-leaved Sundew (Drosera intermedia). The peatland is also an important tributary of the Little North Fork Clearwater, and provides habitat and cold, clean waters for threatened bull trout populations. Our field studies also concluded that the meadows at one point supported a local beaver population.
Friends of the Clearwater and Dr. Fred Rabe have submitted an official proposal to establish 49 Meadows as a Research Natural Area. Peatlands are uncommon in northern Idaho, and designation would strengthen the representation of this habitat type in the Northern Region (Forest Service) Research Natural Area network.