With the 2004 Gallatin County open lands program bond now exhausted, the county open lands program is shifting to new a funding source – a mill levy – which will generate a finite amount of funding each year (roughly $1.27 million) for voluntary incentive-based private land conservation projects.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported on Dec. 4 that the new funding process means some tweaks in the program’s rules, and possibly increased competition – and cooperation – among program funding applications.
From the Chronicle article: “We’ll have to be mindful of the money that’s available each year and will make sure to bring forward the projects that do the most conservation,” said Kathryn Kelly, the Greater Yellowstone manager for the Montana Land Reliance, a land trust that works with the open lands program.
The program will offer two windows for project application submittals, with the first 2019 application deadline coming up on Jan. 17.
“More than anything we’ve had one of the best open lands programs in the state for the last 20 years, and we expect it will continue to work well,” Brendan Weiner, Gallatin Valley Land Trust program manager, said in the article. “The big picture is we’re grateful we have a county and taxpayers that want to invest in conservation.”