Tag Archives: Nature Conservancy Canada

Funding goal reached as part of deal to protect trans-boundary Flathead

Since the announcement last week that the funding goal for money to compensate companies for losses when the Canadian Flathead was closed to development had been reached there’s been a fair amount of press coverage, mostly in the Canadian prfess. The Hungry Horse News this week put a nice, local spin on the event . . .

Bob Patterson, of Oregon, was slinging a line in the North Fork of the Flathead River last week, catching small cutthroat in a run at Glacier Rim.

He’d been on a big looping tour of famous waters in Canada and the U.S., but this was the first stop where he was getting into fish, even if they were small ones.

Patterson said he gave money to the Nature Conservancy’s campaign to compensate mining interests in the headwaters of the river and forever end the threat of mining and energy exploration in the Canadian Flathead. When asked why he did it, he shrugged.

“I’m always for the fish,” he said.

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Funding goal reached for Canadian Flathead compensation fund

It looks like the funding goal for money to compensate companies for losses when the Canadian Flathead was closed to development has been reached . . .

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (“NCC”) and The Nature Conservancy (“TNC”) today announced that, through a collaboration of public and private partners, more than $10 million has been raised to help remove the biggest ecological threat to British Columbia’s Flathead River Valley — a spectacular wilderness area that straddles the Canada-U.S. border.

Thanks to the generous funding contributions from the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP); Warburg Pincus, a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing; and other private donors, the Canadian portion of the Flathead River Valley is now permanently protected from mining and other sub-surface development.

The Government of Canada contributed $5.4 million to the project through the NACP for the conservation of the Flathead River Valley. Warburg Pincus is contributing $2.5 million to the project–the largest private contribution.

The funding is being used by the British Columbia government to implement the Flathead Watershed Area Conservation Act, which was passed last year. The legislation permanently prohibits coal mining as well as exploration and development of oil, gas and mineral resources on nearly 400,000 acres (160,000 hectares) of land in southeast British Columbia.

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Legislation, more agreements still needed to ensure protection of Flathead region

This well-written, well-researched article by Rob Chaney of the Missoulian is recommended reading for anyone interested in the challenges still to come in protecting the Trans-boundary Flathead . . .

Now that the trans-boundary conference calls and Washington, D.C., hand-shaking sessions are over, a lot remains to finish in protecting the Flathead River between British Columbia and Montana.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s Valentine’s Day announcement that two conservation groups were providing $9.4 million to buy out mining claims on the Canadian side of the Flathead didn’t include all the details of the deal. One significant omission was that while the U.S.-based Nature Conservancy is raising its half of the money through private donations, the Nature Conservancy of Canada is dipping into a $225 million Canadian government fund for its contribution.

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Wilson discusses North Fork watershed resolution and aftermath

This week’s Hungry Horse News column by Larry Wilson discusses the recent actions on both sides of the border to protect the North Fork watershed and takes a look at what might be coming next. His column is, as usual, recommended reading . . .

Since Gov. Brian Schweitzer signed a memorandum of understanding with British Columbia, which promised up to 17 million dollars to Canadian companies for reimbursement for cash already spent, we have all wondered where he would find the money. Montana could not pay and for months efforts were made, without success, to get Uncle Sam to foot the bill.

Now it seems that an answer has been found! The Nature Conservancy of Canada and the U.S. Nature Conservancy have committed $9.4 million to the government of British Columbia to conclude the British Columbia-Montana memo of understanding signed a year ago. As part of the deal, the province of British Columbia will enact legislation banning the extraction of minerals, oil, gas, and coal within the watershed. With the two nature conservancy groups coming up with this money, protection of the upper North Fork is an important step towards completion.

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Commentary: North Fork deal is a winner

The Daily Inter Lake has nice things to say today about the recently concluded deal to protect the Flathead drainage . . .

It’s hard to overstate the significance of the recently announced commitment of the Nature Conservancy to provide about $9.4 million to seal a deal between Montana and British Columbia that will prevent mining in the Canadian headwaters of the Flathead River Basin.

It’s even harder to overstate what a sweet deal it is. Montana businesses, conservation groups and political leaders have been battling mining proposals in the British Columbia Flathead drainage for the last 30 years, never really knowing when the next battle would come.

Now, because of a memorandum of understanding between the province and the state that was announced a year ago, there is a prohibition on mining in the remote and pristine drainage that feeds Montana’s North Fork Flathead River.

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Canadian coverage: Conservation groups put up $9.4-million to save Flathead Valley

Not surprisingly, the Canadian press has also been covering the commitment by The Nature Conservancy and Nature Conservancy Canada to provide funds to retire oil and gas leases in the Canadian Flathead. The Globe and Mail posted an excellent article, including links to related stories and even a photo gallery . . .

Two environmental groups are putting up $9.4-million to help the governments of British Columbia and Montana follow through on an agreement to save the pristine Flathead River Valley in southeastern British Columbia.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada and the U.S. Nature Conservancy are contributing the money to cover costs related to a 2010 agreement between the province and the state. The Flathead is known as the Serengeti of the North for its abundant natural areas, which are home to 16 species of carnivore.

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Agreement to protect North Fork of Flathead from gold and coal mining finalized in D.C.

Monday, Gov. Schweitzer announced in Kalispell the commitment by The Nature Conservancy and Nature Conservancy Canada to provide funds to retire oil and gas leases in the Canadian Flathead. Tuesday, in Washington D.C., the whole package was wrapped up and a ribbon tied around it when Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer announced that the Canadian government plans legislation to permanently protect the area.

The Missoulian posted excellent coverage . . .

The deal to protect the North Fork of the Flathead from mining and energy exploration got final approval on Tuesday at a gathering in Washington, D.C., with Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer.

In addition to confirming that The Nature Conservancy and Nature Conservancy of Canada will contribute $9.4 million to reimburse mining company expenses, the gathering also announced plans for Canadian legislation to permanently protect the area.

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Gov. Schweitzer announces, praises deal to reimburse mining companies for North Fork protection

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer made the formal announcement in Kalispell yesterday of the commitment by The Nature Conservancy and Nature Conservancy Canada to provide funds to retire oil and gas leases in the Canadian Flathead.

Both the Flathead Beacon and the Daily Inter Lake covered the presentation in some detail . . .

Flathead Beacon: Nature Conservancy to Reimburse Mining Companies for North Fork Protection

Mining companies with operations in the Canadian portions of the Flathead River Basin will be compensated for their investments by two conservation groups to protect the area around Glacier National Park, according to Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who made the announcement in Kalispell Monday. The payment will seal a deal cut between Schweitzer and British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell one year ago in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to protect the Flathead watershed and Glacier National Park.

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Daily Inter Lake: Money found to seal N.F. mine deals

Another chapter is unfolding in the running effort to ban mining in the Canadian headwaters of the Flathead River: Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer announced a deal Monday that will compensate two mining companies for investments they already have made in the drainage.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Montana have agreed to split the costs of compensating the Cline Mining Co. and Max Resource group for about $10 million in “sunk costs,” Schweitzer told reporters at Flathead Valley Community College.

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[Update: Text of the press release from the Governor’s office (PDF, opens in new window.]

Baucus & Tester praise agreement to retire Canadian oil and gas leases

Yesterday’s announcement of the commitment by The Nature Conservancy and Nature Conservancy Canada to provide funds to retire oil and gas leases in the Canadian Flathead is getting lots of coverage today. Here’s the official press release from U.S. Senators Max Baucus and John Tester . . .

February 15, 2011


Senators Praise Agreement to Retire Canadian Oil and Gas Leases at No Cost to American Taxpayers

(Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s U.S. senators U.S. Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced a formal commitment from British Columbia to pursue legislation that codifies North Fork protections on the Canadian side of the border today.  British Columbia signed the agreement in conjunction with an event in Washington today with Baucus, Tester, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer and representatives from The Nature Conservancy.

The commitment also includes an agreement between The Nature Conservancy and Nature Conservancy Canada to provide $9 million to retire existing oil and gas leases on the Canadian side of the border at no cost to American taxpayers.  Baucus and Tester have championed efforts to retire leases without using taxpayer dollars. To date, the Senators have secured the voluntary return of more than 200,000 acres of old oil and gas leases, or 80 percent of the total leased acreage on the American side of the border.

“Like anything else, protecting the North Fork requires hard work and cooperation. We’ve been working behind the scenes for months to secure this commitment that is 30 years in the making, and I’m thrilled our efforts to bring folks together have paid off,” Baucus said. “Today’s agreement will protect the North Fork on the Canadian side without asking American taxpayers to foot the bill, just like we’ve done successfully in Montana. And Canadian legislation that mirrors our bill here in the U.S. will help secure permanent protections for the Flathead economy.  I want to thank British Columbia for their commitment to preserving this vibrant tourist economy and for helping us keep Montana the last best place for generations to come.”

“This agreement is a testament to what happens when we work together to find solutions that don’t involve American taxpayer dollars,” said Tester, chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus.  “A lot of folks worked hard to keep this special part of North America pristine for future generations of hunters, hikers, anglers and sightseers—and it will result in a stronger economy and jobs for Montana.”

“Our conservation challenges don’t stop at the border so it is important that our nations join together to protect our world’s natural resources and treasures, including the Flathead River Basin with its pristine lakes and alpine scenery,” said Secretary Salazar. “Completion of the agreement to protect the Basin from mining and energy development is not only an historic event, but also a wonderful celebration for the many people who are dedicated to coordinated, sustainable protection of this important watershed.  Many thanks are due Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana for their critical work over the years to protect the Basin.”

“We are thrilled and grateful that so many people came together to protect this extraordinary treasure. No great river is constrained by a border, and it took the cooperation and hard work from people of both our great nations to ensure that the Flathead remains as pristine as it is today. We simply couldn’t have achieved this enormous success without a long list of people, starting with Senators Baucus and Tester, Governor Schweitzer, Premiere Campbell, Secretary Salazar, Ambassador Doer and our partners at Nature Conservancy of Canada. Thanks to one and all,” said Kat Imhoff, the Montana director at The Nature Conservancy.

“Today’s announcement secures yet another chapter in this  30 year citizen’s effort to protect the irreplaceable North Fork wildlands. Many thanks to Senator Max Baucus, who has worked tirelessly to permanently keep these lands and waters pristine for generations to come, and Senator Tester, each of whom played an enormous role in getting us here today, and to Governor Schweitzer who built on their hard work,” said Tony Jewett, Vice President of the National Parks Conservation Association. “With the immediate threat of resource development now on the sidelines, both nations have a window of opportunity to put in place new agreements that will protect this globally significant area permanently.”

“We deeply appreciate the leadership shown by the Montana delegation with the reintroduction of the North Fork Watershed Protection Act.  Senators Baucus and Tester have worked tirelessly to ensure that future generations will enjoy the pristine waters and lands of the Flathead, including the world renowned Glacier National Park,” said Mark Turcek, president and CEO at The Nature Conservancy.

In June Baucus and Tester asked President Obama to press Prime Minister Harper on the importance of protecting the North Fork. The leaders spoke at the G-20 that month and pledged to cooperate.  Since then, Baucus and Tester have been working with Secretary Salazar, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ambassador Doer to build the agreement that led to today’s announcement.

The legislation announced today will formally codify the British Columbian North Fork protections adopted by executive order including: the Flathead Watershed Order (February 9, 2010), the No Disposition notice, the amended Mineral and Coal Land Reserve Regulations (Feb 9, 2010), and the amended Southern Rocky Mountain Management Plan (May 19, 2010).  Putting these protections into statute will ensure more permanent protections that cannot be overturned with leadership changes in British Columbia.  Baucus and Tester have been fighting to pass similar legislation to prevent future oil and gas development and mining on the U.S. side of the border without impeding the timber industry, hunting or fishing.

For the past 30 years, Baucus has been a steady and strong voice to protect the North Fork of the Flathead River, beginning with his successful 1975 proposal to designate the Flathead as a Wild and Scenic River.


$10 million buyout protects Flathead from future gold & coal mining

Here’s a nice Valentine’s Day gift, posted in today’s Missoulian . . .

A deal to protect the North Fork of the Flathead River from gold and coal development has been sealed with a $10 million contribution from private conservation groups, Gov. Brian Schweitzer announced on Monday.

The Nature Conservancy’s U.S. and Canadian organizations have agreed to pay for the expenses of two Canadian mining firms that were exploring the upper reaches of the river drainage in British Columbia. That branch of the Flathead River runs along the western border of Glacier National Park where it enters the United States.

Continue reading . . .