Critical Open Space Protected in Madison Valley

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ARTICLE Big Sky, Mont. (September 24, 2016) - Jack Reints, a life-long Madison Valley resident, placed his 120-acre ranch under conservation easement this August with the Montana Land Reliance. This conservation easement is a voluntary, legally binding agreement that will protect the property from development in perpetuity. The Reints Ranch is a 120-acre contiguous parcel of agricultural land adjacent to Ennis and Jeffers. Both the Madison River and O’Dell Spring Creek flow through the property, and it’s located within 1 mile of six other protected MLR easement properties. The addition of R...

Missoula city, county officials look at protecting 545-acre ranch for ag land, wildlife habitat

ARTICLE Frenchtown, Mont (July 30, 2016) - A trip to the Deschamps Ranch west of Missoula is like time-traveling back to an era when agriculture was the bedrock of the county, as it was when Gaspard Deschamps first settled here from Canada in 1877. Compared to the rest of the Missoula Valley, not much has changed here since that time. It’s an oasis of rural greenery in a part of the county rapidly becoming urban asphalt. Gaspard’s great-grandson Charlie still works the land and grows 1,000 tons of hay every year. A mysterious geological feature on the ranch brings clean water ...

State considers easement funding for sage grouse lands

ARTICLE Great Falls, Mont. (July 12, 2016) - An oversight panel in charge of overseeing implementation of the state’s sage grouse habitat conservation plan is soliciting public comment on contributing $2.9 million in state funds toward the purchase of four conservation easements on almost 35,000 acres of private land in northeastern Montana. (more…)

Couple preserves piece of local ag heritage

ARTICLE Kalispell, Mont. (June 21, 2016) - Out past the hummingbirds and house finches lingering near the feeders on the porch, Clifford and Shirley Brenneman look east through their kitchen window at emerald green fields of grain rolling toward the wall of mountains rising from the valley floor. New hotels, subdivisions and chain restaurants are announced with increasing frequency in Flathead County, home to Montana’s second fastest-growing population and a booming recreation industry built on its surrounding rivers, lakes and thickly forested mountains. (more…)

Unique river easement OK’d by Fish and Wildlife Commission

ARTICLE Billings, Mont. (February 12, 2016) - The Fish and Wildlife Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a first-of-its-kind channel migration easement allowing the Yellowstone River to roam, though concerns of how it may affect a downstream user almost stalled the proposal. (more…)

After 15 years, conservation easement tax incentives become permanent

ARTICLE Helena, Mont. (January 7, 2016) - It was nearly 17 years ago that a pair of conservation-minded Montanans began a quest to help working ranchers and farmers keep their land in agriculture. In the recently passed federal budget bill, the initiative Rock Ringling and Bill Long spearheaded became a permanent part of conservation law. (more…)