Congressional riders aid conservation easements in Montana

To the surprise of some, Congress passed a few laws to help keep Montana’s land whole and its families on the land.

Since Congress allowed the Land and Water Conservation Act to sunset in September, some have wondered how to save what’s left of rural Montana. But on Friday, the U.S. Senate joined the House of Representatives both in extending the LWCF at least short-term and in allowing tax incentives for conservation easements to become permanent.

Read More

Tester uses town-hall call-in to explain conservation strategy

Sen. Jon Tester tried to reach out to Montanans regarding Congressional issues affecting public lands and conservation in Montana. But some callers preferred to make their own points or raise questions on unrelated issues.

Tester started off the Wednesday evening call going over the main issues he wanted to address: preserving public land, reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, improving forest management by removing wildfire suppression costs from the Forest Service budget and the Congressional brinksmanship related to raising the federal debt ceiling.

Read More

LWCF grant helps preserve habitat near Columbia Falls

 A $2 million federal grant will help preserve logging and habitat in northwestern Montana, but it may be one of the last to do so if Congress doesn’t renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund by Sept. 30.

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded $2 million to the Trust for Public Land to help with the purchase of a conservation easement of almost 7,200 acres in the Trumbull Creek watershed near Columbia Falls.

Read More