The Condon easement adds to wildlife conservation efforts

Laura Lundquist

(present-day Missoula) Because of a brand new partnership, one other 30 acres will probably be saved for wildlife within the Swan River Valley.

On Thursday, 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 gaggle referred to as Montana Freshwater Companions, previously Montana Aquatic Sources Providers, has been working with personal landowners to plot a plan to revive parts of beforehand drained wetlands and convert them to farmland.

“(Montana Recent Water Companions) oversees wetland mitigation {dollars} for the state of Montana. They wanted a associate who might present some long-term safety for his or her restoration funding,” mentioned Mitch Doherty, director of conservation at Important Floor. Solely a deed limitation, however these landowners have been curious about an easement for preservation, in order that they reached out. We have been engaged on this for a few yr now.”

The world round Condon and Salmon Prairie is a serious migration hall by means 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 first-rate habitat space for native bull trout, a federally threatened species, and Westslope cutthroat trout.

However zoning and growth on the remaining personal land is a rising menace. Lowering human impacts and restoring habitat is essential to preserving wildlife.

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

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

Easement possession borders public lands and different protected personal lands, so the undertaking ensures that the forested wetland habitat stays undeveloped inside 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 Important Floor and landowners to guard this distinctive property,” mentioned Leah Schwartz, undertaking supervisor, Montana Recent Water Companions. “Forested wetlands can take tons of of years to develop on a panorama, so defending those who stay intact is a precedence. The landowners’ sport cameras have captured almost each species you might think about utilizing their property, from nice grey owls to mountain lions and grizzly bears.” .

Doherty mentioned the primary easement for 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 obtainable to us,” Doherty mentioned.

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

“We’re taking a look at some initiatives with Montana Recent Water Companions within the Flathead and probably alongside the Rocky Mountain Entrance,” Doherty mentioned. “We’re always taking pictures concepts backwards and forwards the place they’ve some restoration investments and the place they’ve landowners curious about long-term preservation. It is a distinctive and glad partnership.”

Reporter Laura Lundquist at lundquist@missoulacurrent.com.

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