The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, based in Missoula and one of Montana’s premier wildlife conservation organizations, celebrated the closing of the Falls Creek project in 2019 with a major celebration at the project site near the Rocky Mountain Front, and in RMEF’s signature publication (The Bugle). The Falls Creek project not only opened up public access to the scenic falls itself, but to an additional of 26,000 acres of public land. RMEF negotiated a purchased agreement with a cooperative Barrett family, raised the funding to purchase the 442-acre property, and now the land is in public USFS ownership. Read the full – and very interesting – story here, as told by RMEF.
The State of Montana and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service have both made sage grouse habitat conservation top priorities, and so have The Montana Land Reliance and the Raths Ranch near Roundup.
Landowners Jeff and Bea Raths partnered with MLR, NRCS and the Montana Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program to place a conservation easement on 11,230 acres of their ranch to help maintain healthy sage grouse habitat and populations.
The NRCS featured the Raths and the conservation easement on the Montana NRCS website, and the Raths also received a 2019 conservation award from MLR. Montana is working hard to retain state authority of sage grouse, and projects like this will help the state achieve that goal.
Five Valleys Land Trust, with help from a bunch of partners, in 2019 completed its largest conservation easement ever on the 5,100-acre Graveley Ranch.
The Graveley Ranch is a place of windswept beauty. Located outside of Garrison, and visible from Interstate 90, the ranch rolls from the East Garnet Mountains into juniper-sagebrush steppes and high montane grasslands, down into conifers stands and tracks of riparian habitat along Brock Creek, Bear Gulch, Warm Springs Creek and the Clark Fork River. Tucked away into these hills, a spring bubbles into a large waterfall feature—a rarity among the coolies and sage of this region.
Prickly Pear Land Trust’s leadership and community cooperation produced Tenmile Creek Park, a fully accessible community park in Helena near Spring Meadow Resources, VA Medical Center at Fort Harrison and Spring Meadow Lake State Park. Prickly Pear is also leading the Sevenmile Creek Restoration project, a collaborative effort on a 358-acre parcel near Helena that will restore wetlands, riparian habitat and floodplain functions to diminish downstream sedimentation and flooding.