The Condon easement adds to wildlife conservation efforts

Laura Lundquist

(present-day Missoula) Due to a brand new partnership, one other 30 acres might be saved for wildlife within the Swan River Valley.

On Thursday, Very important Floor, a land belief that prioritizes grizzly bear habitat, introduced that an easement has been positioned on 30 acres of forested wetland surrounding Condon Creek alongside Freeway 83 in Swan Valley.

A bunch referred to as Montana Freshwater Companions, previously Montana Aquatic Assets Companies, has been working with non-public landowners to plot a plan to revive parts of beforehand drained wetlands and convert them to farmland.

“(Montana Contemporary Water Companions) oversees wetland mitigation {dollars} for the state of Montana. They wanted a accomplice who might present some long-term safety for his or her restoration funding,” mentioned Mitch Doherty, director of conservation at Very important Floor. Solely a deed limitation, however these landowners had been excited by an easement for preservation, so that they reached out. We have been engaged on this for a couple of yr now.”

The world round Condon and Salmon Prairie is a significant migration hall by way of the Swan Valley for a lot of species, together with grizzly bears, lynxes, and wolverines. As well as, the Salmon Prairie wetlands keep water amount and high quality in a chief habitat space for native bull trout, a federally threatened species, and Westslope cutthroat trout.

However zoning and improvement on the remaining non-public land is a rising menace. Decreasing human impacts and restoring habitat is vital to preserving wildlife.

Path digicam captures a grizzly bear. (Picture courtesy Very important floor)

Path digicam captures a grizzly bear. (Picture courtesy Very important floor)

Easement possession borders public lands and different protected non-public lands, so the undertaking ensures that the forested wetland habitat stays undeveloped throughout the wildlife hall connecting the Mission and Swan Mountains. By working with Montana’s Freshwater Companions, landowners hope that habitat restoration efforts will enhance species range, pure water storage, and wildlife habitats.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Very important Floor and landowners to guard this distinctive property,” mentioned Leah Schwartz, undertaking supervisor, Montana Contemporary Water Companions. “Forested wetlands can take tons of of years to develop on a panorama, so defending people who stay intact is a precedence. The landowners’ sport cameras have captured practically each species you may think about utilizing their property, from nice grey owls to mountain lions and grizzly bears.” .

Doherty mentioned the primary easement for Very important Floor in 20 years was in Swan Valley. The Land Belief now owns about 1,000 acres of easement within the Swan Valley, and Doherty expects so as to add extra.

“We’re taking a look at a couple of different alternatives in Swan, attempting to make use of the Missoula County Open House Bond funds. This undertaking was in Lake County, so we did not have that accessible to us,” Doherty mentioned.

It was the primary time Very important Floor had labored with Montana Freshwater Companions, and Doherty mentioned they made a very good staff. Realizing that they complement one another nicely, the 2 organizations are on the lookout for different initiatives they’ll collaborate on.

“We’re taking a look at some initiatives with Montana Contemporary Water Companions within the Flathead and probably alongside the Rocky Mountain Entrance,” Doherty mentioned. “We’re continually capturing concepts backwards and forwards the place they’ve some restoration investments and the place they’ve landowners excited by long-term preservation. It is a distinctive and pleased partnership.”

Reporter Laura Lundquist at lundquist@missoulacurrent.com.

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