GVLT Awarded $3.8 Million Renewal of NRCS Conservation Funds for Protection of Agricultural Lands

GVLT along with 17 partner organizations has been awarded a $3.8 million renewal of conservation funding through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The funding will allow GVLT and partners to continue focused conservation efforts in the rapidly developing Gallatin Valley. The funds will be used to purchase conservation easements from willing landowners and to complete land stewardship projects in the valley to protect water quality, prime farmland and reduce urban sprawl. The majority of funds will go directly to farmers and ranchers to complete conservation projects on their properties.

We first received a $3.8 million award in 2015 and have used the funds to acquire 7 conservation easements totaling over 2,600 acres and complete 6 land stewardship projects in partnership with landowners and the NRCS. This first RCPP project allocation produced $21 million in total conservation value, providing a 5 to 1 match of Federal NRCS funds.

This award creates a special pool of money for landowners in the Gallatin Valley to access the NRCS’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). Projects will be evaluated locally and funds will stay within the Gallatin Valley. This type of focused conservation effort targets land use conversion and urban sprawl, which threaten the agricultural heritage of the Gallatin Valley.

The Gallatin County Open Lands Program, which was renewed by Gallatin County voters in 2018, provides an essential source of local matching funds that is required to access this federal conservation program.

We’re grateful for our partnership with the NRCS and the focused work we can achieve together.