The Gallatin County Commission gave initial unanimous approval of six proposed conservation easements through the county’s open land program that would conserve 7,200 acres of important Gallatin Valley agricultural lands.
The initial approval came on Dec. 14, after the commission considered four project applications by Gallatin Valley Land Trust and two from The Montana Land Reliance.
The six projects will now go to the Gallatin County Open Lands Program Board before a final decision by the county commission. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle article indicates there is enough funding for all six projects, with some additional funding rolled over into 2022.
The proposed conservation easements highlighted in the Chronicle all featured impressive agricultural and wildlife conservation benefits.
Chad Klinkenborg, lands program manager at Gallatin Valley Land Trust, said that the Gallatin Madison North Ranch proposed easement is within five miles of eight existing conservation easements held by GVLT which combined have conserved around 5,000 acres of agricultural land.
The property was described as critical winter range for elk. An elk herd that has frequented the property has grown substantially over the years.
The Chronicle reported that The Rimkus Property, a conservation easement proposed by MLR, is home to a large variety of animal species, including 47 species of birds and seven species of bats that are of concern, said Kathryn Kelly, MLR’S Greater Yellowstone manager