The Nature Conservancy in Montana has closed a 4,480-acre transaction with the BLM, part of a larger 13,000-acre project along Belmont and Burnt creeks in the Blackfoot River Corridor. The Missoula Current carried an announcement of the transaction last week, and reported the Land and Water Conservation Fund provided funding for the transaction, and the LWCF will help fund additional purchases by the BLM of property currently held by TNC.
From the article:
“This project has been a blueprint for achieving conservation at a meaningful scale and would not have been possible without collaborative partnerships, forged over many years, among private landowners, community organizations and state and federal agencies,” said Chris Bryant, Western Montana Land Protection Director for The Nature Conservancy.
…The area is home to threatened and endangered species, including grizzly bears, lynx and bull trout, along with elk, deer and other species.
…About 8,000 acres was purchased in November with $5.6 million of LWCF money. Thursday’s chunk was made possible with another $3.5 million from LWCF.
…Bryant said the BLM needs about $900,000 before the remaining parcels will be bought. “It probably will be LWCF money, but it will probably be from other pots,” Bryant said.
The Nature Conservancy has promised a few nearby parcels to the U.S. Forest Service. The USFS has been promised $9 million in LWCF grants to buy those properties, but the two parties haven’t closed on them yet. Bryant said it won’t be long before they’re public land too.
All told, The Nature Conservancy sales to the BLM and USFS will create more than 25,000 acres of new public land. And there’s a possibility of more to come.