Land Trust News

Kelly Kountz Photo / Courtesy of Gallatin Valley Land Trust

Vital Ground Foundation Helps Conserve Key NW Montana Wildlife Habitat

The Vital Ground Foundation and partners have conserved 215 acres of critical wildlife habitat in northwestern Montana along the Yaak River. It’s a relatively small number of acres that produces a large positive impact.

With the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust providing a grant to enable the project, Vital Ground has purchased 215 acres of prime grizzly habitat along the Yaak River and Lap Creek, establishing the Broadie Habitat Preserve. Beyond helping grizzlies, the effort will support a mosaic of biodiversity, including the nationally threatened Canada lynx and bull trout along with state-designated species of concern such as wolverine and Westslope cutthroat trout.

“Between the Yaak River and Lap Creek, nearly a mile’s worth of stream frontage occurs on the property, which illustrates how even a modestly-sized acquisition like this can provide outsized conservation benefits,” says Ryan Lutey, Vital Ground’s executive director. “Protection of this important river bottom can help filter and store water to augment downstream water quality, and its location at the confluence of these two streams provides high quality fish habitat while meeting important seasonal needs for wildlife species that range far beyond the property’s boundaries.”