The Montana Conservation Easement Appraiser Capacity Project Report was officially released at the MALT Dec. 3 membership meeting through a presentation by Bill Long of Solid Ground Consulting. Bill has been working with MALT staff on the report since June 2018. He conducted nearly 30 interviews with land trust professionals and conservation easement appraisers to determine the appraiser capacity situation and explore options to address any current or future appraiser capacity issues that may exist. The 29-page report discusses trends in Montana private land conservation, presents the interview results, highlights key issues within the land trust – conservation easement appraiser relationship of working together on conservation projects, a series of Bill’s observations, and a package of options to address conservation easement appraisal capacity challenges.
Who has final approval authority over proposed Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks conservation easements, the Montana Land Board or the Fish and Game Commission? That question is the basis of a Montana Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 5, scheduled for 9:30 AM to 10:40 AM at the Courtroom of the Montana Supreme Court, in the Joseph P. Mazurek Justice Building in Helena.
Brian Martin, the grasslands conservation director for The Nature Conservancy in Montana, voices some concerns about the American Prairie Reserve land-purchasing methods in north central Montana.
A guest column in the Flathead Beacon submitted by members of the Montana Association of Land Trusts touts the value of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to Montana and Montanans. The article also encourages Congress to act during the ongoing lame duck session to permanently reauthorize and permanently fund the LWCF with dedicated funding.
The Montana Association of Land Trusts membership will gather in Helena at the Montana Wild Center on Monday, Dec. 3, for its 2018 winter meeting. In addition to the MALT members, Montana NRCS State Conservationist Tom Watson is expected to attend and discuss the NRCS ALE Program and ongoing work on the 2018 Farm Bill.
Montana Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester joined Land and Water Conservation Fund supporters and congressional colleagues in a Nov. 29 event at the US Capitol to rally support for the LWCF. The LWCF expired at the end of September and a primary goal during the current lame duck session is for Congress to permanently reauthorize and permanently and fully fund this essential national conservation program. MALT applauds the efforts of the two Senators and urges them to work toward LWCF reauthorization and funding.
Bitter Root Land Trust is hosting an Art & Conservation Open House in Hamilton on Dec. 14 and Dec. 15 to help Bitterroot folks “find that special gift and raise funds for local conservation.” The event features paintings, pottery, jewelry, textiles and more from local artists. The event will be held at the BRLT office located at 170 S. 2nd Street in Hamilton, and runs Friday, Dec. 14, 5:00 – 8:00 PM and Saturday, Dec. 15, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM. See the poster attached here for more details.
Thinking about making a donation to Montana conservation on #GivingTuesday? Please consider a donation to Montana Association of Land Trusts member. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. #GivingTuesday also informally kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Montana land trusts help make Montana a better place to live, work, recreate, and raise a family. Montana land trusts strengthen communities, improve outdoor recreation opportunities, conserve wildlife habitat, protect clean water, nurture agricultural production and so much more.
The Nature Conservancy in Montana recently shouted out a huge thank you to volunteers who helped TNC with a restoration project along the Ruby River. Over the course of two days last week volunteers helped cut and bundle 2,100 willow stakes for use in future stream restoration activities. Photographer and videographer Jon Catton provided several images of the effort.
Five Valleys Land Trust, the Vital Ground Foundation and the Heart of the Rockies Initiative all participated in the Nov. 20 meeting of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem grizzly bear managers. The meeting took place in Missoula and also included representatives from USFS, Montana Department of Transportation and Montana FWP. A key purpose of the meeting was addressing ESA delisting the grizzly and state management priorities after delisting.