The Nature Conservancy in Montana and the US Fish & Wildlife Service worked to finalize a Greater Sage-Grouse and Declining Songbirds Programatic Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) in early 2018 and TNC announced last week it enrolled its first landowner within this CCAA program. The agreement with the landowner covers 11,000 acres of mostly sagebrush habitat in north central Montana and the property sits in sage grouse core habitat and the habitat of four key grasslands songbirds.
Senator Jon Tester and former Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell helped rally support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund during an August 31 event in the Paradise Valley. “It’s (the LWCF) got to be reauthorized, and it’s got to be funded,” Tester said.
Five Valleys Land Trust will spend Saturday, Sept. 22, with project partners on Mount Dean Stone working with volunteers on trail building projects. The event starts at 9:00 AM and in part because of shuttling to the work site pre-registration is required. National Public Lands Day is also held Sept. 22.
Trails are a major asset for the Montana State Parks system. Trails are also major assets for neighborhoods and communities, and several Montana land trusts are actively engaged in trails programs.
The Madison Conservation District will show a series of short films – including MALT’s “On the Shoulders of Giants: The Story of Montana Private Land Conservation” – on August 31 as part of the Montana Conservation Film Fest during the Ennis Fly Fishing and Outdoor Festival. The films will be shown at the Madison Theatre in Ennis starting at 2:30 PM.
The film Saving the Land and Water Conservation Fund does a good job within its nine-minute running time of showcasing the diverse benefits produced by the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The film stars Ed Arnett of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, who wanders in and around Missoula within the film, talking with people like Land Tawny, Pelah Hoyt, Jim Stone, David Mannix, Missoula Mayor John Engen and others. The film explores the economic, local business, conservation, agricultural, parks and trails, outdoor recreation and access benefits Montana directly derives from the LWCF. Public lands. Family farms and ranches. City parks. Wildlife habitat. Open space. Scenic areas. Access and recreation. All are on display. Unless the program is reauthorized, the LWCF will expire in about five weeks.
The Montana Land Reliance and the WCS Community Partnerships Summer Speaker Series will focus on sandhill cranes on Sept. 4 at the Kelly Ranch near Bozeman. The event starts at 6:00 PM and will include a presentation by Patrick Donnelly of the Intermountain West Joint Venture and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, plus samples from local breweries.
At the invitation of Montana Senator Steve Daines, the Montana land trust community was front and center during the August 17 Western Congressional Foundation’s Summer Western Policy Roundtable discussion in Bozeman. Mark Lambrecht of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Mark Aagenes of The Nature Conservancy in Montana, and Glenn Marx of the Montana Association of Land Trusts, all had the opportunity to weigh in on a variety of national natural resource and agricultural policy matters. Other agricultural, timber, mining, federal agency, and conservation voices highlighted natural resource issues, problems, and recommendations. Senator Daines, a co-chair of the congressional Western Caucus Foundation, together with Foundation co-chair Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ), led the discussion. Mark at RMEF focused his remarks on elk habitat and forest management, Mark at TNC discussed forest health and creative ways to generate new and expand markets for wood products, and Glenn at MALT focused on the importance of the ALE Program and more specifically on the problems with ALE Management Plans. We appreciated the opportunity to participate in the Roundtable and engage in policy discussions with Caucus members.
Flathead Land Trust’s “The Land Affair” get-together on August 16 in Whitefish will celebrate and help conserve open spaces and wild places in northwest Montana.
Montana Senator Steve Daines told a group of land trusts that he was supportive of Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent reauthorization and full funding, and was “doubling down on every possible avenue we have to get this reauthorized before Sept. 30.” The LWCF will expire at the end of September unless it is reauthorized. At an event at Helena’s Spring Meadow Park, Sen. Daines met with MALT members The Nature Conservancy, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Prickly Pear Land Trust, and voiced his continuing commitment to LWCF reauthorization and funding.