The Montana Association of Land Trusts was among a list of state, regional and national conservation organizations—including other MALT members—that signed on to a letter to US House and Senate leadership advocating the reconciliation bill retain major funding for forest conservation programs.
MALT members who also signed the letter included Prickly Pear Land Trust, The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Land.
The letter, sent earlier in October, highlights the value and success of the Forest Legacy Program, a program that has been instrumental in funding large forest conservation projects in northwest Montana. The reconciliation package—whose future in Congress is unclear—currently contains $40 billion in forest conservation funding, including $1.25 billion (over ten years) for the Forest Legacy Program. The bill also contains $100 million for the Community Forest and Open Space Program.
Final budget allocation numbers for the reconciliation bill are unsettled at this time, but increases in the Forest Legacy Program and Community Forest Program would be welcome forest conservation news for Montana. The Forest Legacy Program as been instrumental in conserving nearly 270,000 acres of western Montana forestlands, with multiple projects in the Montana Forest Legacy pipeline.