Land Trust News

Kelly Kountz Photo / Courtesy of Gallatin Valley Land Trust

Kaniksu Land Trust Searching for Executive Director

Kaniksu Land Trust’s search for a new executive director continues, with an April 5 cutoff date for applications. KLT is located in Sandpoint, ID, works in Idaho and Montana, and has recently significantly expanded its land conservation and community conservation efforts. The position description and application information is available on the FLT website and says, “The ideal candidate will be a strong, well-focused, and dynamic leader willing to reach out to our community and promote the mission of KLT through public engagement and fundraising. This person will need to be able to inspire and direct a small but talented staff and engage an array of community partners and collaborators.”

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Governor Bullock Seeking Applicants for Grizzly Bear Advisory Council

Governor Steve Bullock is seeking Montanans to apply to serve on a newly-created Grizzly Bear Advisory Council to assist the State of Montana develop plans for eventual state management of grizzly bears. “Legal uncertainty has created a void requiring our leadership,“ Governor Bullock said in creating the advisory council. “As bears continue to expand in numbers and habitat, we must identify durable and inclusive strategies to address current issues and prepare for the future. This advisory council represents a key step toward Montana embracing the tremendous responsibility and opportunity of long-term Grizzly Bear recovery and management.”

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NRCS / MALT Partnership Meeting Set for May 8

The NRCS / MALT Partnership Meeting will take place the afternoon of May 8 in Bozeman, at the NRCS State Office. Erik Suffridge of the NRCS and Tom Mallon (Montana ALE Program Coordinator) will be working on the meeting agenda, so land trusts are encouraged to contact them with ideas for agenda topics. The meeting will present a good opportunity to discuss 2019 ALE Program provisions and funding levels, 202 ALE Program expectations, RCPP provisions, Focused Conservation, the NRCS State Technical Committee, individual ALE projects, and more.

Land Trust Day in the Capitol Coming Up April 11

The MALT membership legislative Land Trust Day in the Capitol is coming up on April 11, and detailed information about the day’s agenda will be finalized soon. The event will kick off at 10:00 AM with a brief welcome and pep talk by State Senator Terry Gauthier (R-Helena), sponsor of SB 24, a bill that would expand trails and parks funding. The bill has passed the Senate and will be heard in the House Fish, Wildlife & Parks Committee on March 28. Thanks to Prickly Pear Land Trust, which has kindly offered to take a lead on serving lunch in the Capitol rotunda at noon on April 11. Please consider making the trip to Helena on April 11 for the day’s festivities. Land Trust Day in the Capitol presents a great opportunity to discuss the importance of private land conservation to a key audience of policy makers. More details coming soon.

Losing Ground Trailer Tells Compelling Story

by Glenn Marx, MALT Executive Director – Every minute, reports the American Angus Association, the US loses three acres of land that is currently growing food. That translates to 175 acres of ag lands lost every hour, 1.5 million acres of farm and ranch land per year. That’s alarming. And if you want to watch a video that sounds that alarm, and eventually watch a documentary that will debut on May 27, 2019 on RFD-TV, take a look at the 1:58 minute video produced by the American Angus Association. This is not your basic (and valuable) land trust video about open spaces. This is a video documenting the brutal truth about food supply and food security. It is not meant to charm you. It is meant to warn you, perhaps even scare you. And everyone should see it. We in the land trust community should help make sure everyone sees it. Two comments from the video promo: “Hungry people are not strong people.“ “It doesn’t make for a safe place to live when people start fighting over food.“ The video is a compelling two minutes. The documentary should be equally compelling, and it is going to be interesting to see how the American Angus Association tells this story. It is possible that the documentary will be must-see TV for people who oppose the incredibly valuable work of land trusts, ag groups, landowners, agencies, and conservation programs in conserving farm and ranch lands.

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Conservation Success Story at Coal Banks Landing

The Montana Land Reliance and the NRCS have partnered with the Anderson family on a conservation easement that impressively does all this: Conserves ranch lands, preserves Montana historical sites and recreation opportunities, helps protect the Missouri River National Wild and Scenic corridor, conserves cottonwood galleries, shortgrass prairies, and maintains habitat for over 40 bird species. Outstanding!

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Ties to the Land Workshop Coming to Butte on April 13

The Ties to the Land Workshop comes to Butte on April 13 to help families prepare for succession planning of property. The Ties to the Land Workshop, subtitled “The human side of estate planning,“ is presented by the Forest Stewardship Foundation with help from the Montana Association of Land Trusts. Additional information about the Ties workshop is available at the Montana Forest Stewardship Foundation website, which includes a registration form. The workshop runs 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the Butte Business Development Center, Room 209, at 305 W. Mercury in Uptown Butte. Workshop leaders will again be Madeline and Kirk David, who have been bringing the popular and respected Ties workshops to Montana for several years. Attendance for the workshop is currently open, and will close on March 31. Attendance is limited to 25 to accommodate the personal interactive aspects of the workshops. Landowners who have participated in the Ties workshops report the workshops have been informative, helpful, and instructive on succession planning of land. The concept of conservation easements within succession planning is a topic within the workshops.

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Blackfoot Challenge Conservation Strategies Committee Meets March 19

The Blackfoot Challenge will host its annual Conservation Strategies Committee Meeting on Tuesday, March 19, from 10:00 AM to Noon at the Lubrecht Conference Center. Sara Schmidt of the Challenge is working on an agenda for the meeting, and can be reached at sara@blackfootchallenge.org. Several MALT members participate in the Conservation Strategies Committee, which is composed of watershed landowners, agencies, land trusts, local government, and nonprofits that meets on an annual basis to share information and updates on conservation efforts in the watershed.