Congratulations to everyone, including the Stoltze company, who worked to make this happen . . .
A $9.5 million, 7,068-acre conservation easement has been finalized for the Trumbull Creek area north of Columbia Falls, the Trust for Public Land and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Park announced Friday.
The land-use agreement for the property, owned by Stoltze Land & Lumber Co., permanently bars commercial and residential development, while allowing timber management and public recreational use to continue. Stoltze contributed to the cost of the easement by donating a portion of the land value. The majority of the $9.5 million came from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, Forest Legacy Program and Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund.
“It really has high resource values,” Trust for Public Land Northern Rockies Director Dick Dolan said in an interview. He added that the land includes grizzly bear and Canadian lynx habitat, and serves as the headwaters for bull trout spawning areas.
Whitefish makes a preliminary move to protect even more of their watershed from development . . .
Even as local leaders and state resource managers celebrated the recent completion of the Haskill Basin conservation easement east of Whitefish Lake, a plan to protect more than 15,000 acres of private land northwest of the lake is already in the works.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Conservation Manager Alan Wood said the Whitefish Lake Watershed Project, a 15,334-acre easement proposal northwest of the lake, is still in its preliminary stages.
Good news for Whitefish: The Haskill Basin conservation easement is a done deal . . .
For years, conservation groups and city officials have recognized the development pressure that could bear down on Haskill Basin, a block of land east of Whitefish owned by F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Co.
And for years, those concerns were quelled by a good-faith agreement with the Stoltze family, who for more than a century has maintained its commitment to managing the Haskill parcel as a working forest, rather than leveraging it into a revenue-rich development deal.
On Wednesday, that handshake deal was inked into the history books as Whitefish city officials, along with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Stoltze, and the nonprofit Trust for Public Land, finalized an agreement to furnish permanent protections on 3,020 acres of land in the Haskill Creek watershed.
Looks like the Trumbull Creek land deal is a go . . .
A large land conservation deal northwest of Columbia Falls will benefit from passage of the Land, Water and Conservation Fund.
The fund uses off shore oil and gas lease revenue for conservation projects across the U.S. Congress extended the measure for three years when it passed a massive budget bill just before the holidays. Nationwide, Congress appropriated about $450 million to the fund.
Montana’s largest LWCF project this year is the Trumbull Creek conservation easement with F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Co. The Trumbull Creek easement is a $9.5 million deal, with $6.5 million from the Forest Legacy program, $2 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Habitat Conservation Plan program and $1 million from private donations.
Some good news: Montana FWP recommended purchasing conservation easements on better than 10,000 acres in the north end of the Flathead Valley . . .
Public comments are in, and two proposed major conservation easement purchases in the Flathead Valley – including one that would protect the primary source of Whitefish’s water supply – are moving forward.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on Monday recommended the FWP Commission immediately approve the purchase of a $16.7 million easement on more than 3,000 forested acres in Haskill Basin north of Whitefish.
The agency also recommended the commission approve the purchase of a $9.5 million easement on more than 7,000 acres northwest of Columbia Falls in the Trumble Creek area once the conservation easement and associated management plan are finalized, and other due diligence is completed.
If you’ve an interest in the proposed conservation easements on Stoltze Lumber land in the Haskill Creek and Trumbull Creek drainages, there’s a open house next week to discuss them . . .
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will hold an open house in Columbia Falls to take preliminary public input on two proposed conservation easement projects on lands owned by the F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Co.
The open house will take place at the Columbia Falls Fire Hall, 624 First Avenue West, on Tuesday, April 28, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Personnel from FWP, Stoltze and The Trust for Public Land will be on hand to discuss the proposed projects, answer questions and gather issues, concerns or ideas raised by the public, adjoining landowners, and any other interested people.
Some encouraging news regarding habitat connectivity . . .
Animals from grizzly bears to dairy cows will benefit from the largest-ever conservation easement in the Mission Valley, according to the people who signed it.
Five Valleys Land Trust announced this week that almost 2,300 acres east of Charlo will be protected for both wildlife and agricultural purposes after a conservation easement was entered into on the property.
Grasslands on the Moiese Valley Ranch – better known locally as Hillside Farms – buffer Crow Creek, a critical corridor used by grizzlies and other wildlife to travel between the Mission Mountains and the Flathead River.
Here’s a rather upbeat look at species recovery efforts across Montana . . .
Montanans are living in wild times.
For proof, just look at the big picture. There are elk, bison and bighorn sheep grazing in the prairie regions of Eastern Montana where they had previously been exterminated. Large predators like grizzly bears, mountain lions and gray wolves prowl the western forests of the state after declining to record lows.
In the state’s rivers, Yellowstone and westslope cutthroat trout, as well as endangered pallid sturgeon, are being planted to enhance their declining populations. Even in towns and cities wildlife are resurging as geese crowd golf course ponds, mule deer nibble on resident’s shrubbery and ducks, rabbits and Merriam’s turkeys commonly strut across manicured lawns.