Brian Ohs, Montana ALE Progam Coordinator
I have some good news for the Montana ALE Program. MALT members applying for FY21 funding were awarded another $3.46 million last week. This appropriation constituted 40% of the money allotted from the April funding request and along with the initial allocation of $9.11 million will preliminarily allow the NRCS to obligate funding to eight ALE projects this year. A special thank you to NRCS staff and State Conservationist Tom Watson for their tireless efforts to more bring money into the state for private land conservation over the past several months.
Also, congratulations to Jennifer Hayward, who has been selected to serve as the interim conservationist for the ACEP ALE Program within the Montana NRCS. Jennifer is currently a District Conservationist in Pinedale, Wyoming, and has ALE experience with our neighbors to the south. Jennifer’s detail begins on May 24 and we look forward to working with her in the coming days.
Finally, I will be reaching out to MALT conservation easement practitioners this week to begin gathering information for the July NRCS State Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) meeting, which will be addressing recommendations for a new definition of “Grasslands of Special Environmental Significance” (GSS). You may recall that during the March STAC meeting, the committee directed the Wildlife and Rangeland subcommittee to craft a more acute definition of GSS. The intent will be to submit comments and recommendations to the STAC by the end of June.