Good news for Gallatin Valley conservation: The NRCS announced last week that Gallatin Valley Land Trust’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program project (RCPP) has been renewed and funded with $3.8 million. Funds will be allocated toward cooperative conservation easement projects and other conservation and stewardship measures in the Gallatin area. The majority of funds will go directly to farmers and ranchers to complete conservation projects on their properties.
Gallatin Valley Land Trust had been the first land trust in Montana to receive RCPP approval back in 2015, when the national program was launched. GVLT and 17 partners received $3.8 million in funding to acquire seven conservation easements totaling over 2,600 acres. The funding also allowed GVLT and its partners to complete six land stewardship projects with landowners and the NRCS. The 2014 first RCPP allocation to GVLT produced $21 million in total conservation value, providing a 5 to 1 match of federal funds.
RCPP was a new program in the 2014 Farm Bill, and was modified and included with the 2018 Farm Bill, and language within the 2018 Farm Bill allowed existing RCPP partners like GVLT to renew their existing proposal. GVLT learned last week its renewal had been approved. “At a time when the Gallatin Valley is facing unprecedented growth, this special allocation of funds will increase the pace of conservation in the Valley” according to Brendan Weiner, GVLT Program Director. “Thank you to the NRCS for strategically allocating these funds to a place that is committed to conserving its agricultural heritage and has a proven record of conservation success.”
“This focused partnership project has brought together the resources to conserve more open space and address resource concerns on more acres in the Gallatin Valley than either group could have done individually,” said Tom Watson, NRCS State Conservationist for Montana.