Our land conservation is focused and strategic. We have identified the geographic areas or resources that are most important to protect in our quickly changing region. We try to work on conservation projects that are adjacent to each other, providing large contiguous areas of open space. We also focus on critical areas that are most threatened by development. Our conservation efforts are also focused on protecting wildlife corridors that are used by some of our region’s most iconic species.
As you drive towards the West coming into Bozeman on the Interstate, you’ll come through Bozeman Pass. It is beautiful thanks to years of conservation with landowners and GVLT. A number of properties have been conserved in the area, creating large blocks of contiguous, undeveloped land. The Bozeman Pass area is of particular significance because it is an important wildlife corridor, providing a critical linkage to Yellowstone and the Gallatin Mountains to the Bangtail and Bridger Mountains. This strategic conservation focus has helped provide uninterrupted movement for wildlife.
Part of what makes this region so unique is our rich agricultural heritage. The Amsterdam and Churchill communities west of Bozeman are a prime example. Many of the families in this area have been farming their land for generations. The soil is incredibly productive and has been identified as some of the best in the entire state. We believe that the farmers’ way of life and the bounty they grow are worth protecting.
East Gallatin River
The East Gallatin River is an iconic part of the Gallatin Valley. It winds across the northern portion of the valley and around the town and is heralded as one of the best fishing streams in the state. It has been a strategic focus for GVLT for years, as the land along the river provides important wildlife habitat, affects water quality, and offers valued scenic views in the area. We are proud that many miles of river frontage the East Gallatin are undeveloped and natural thanks to conservation easements with private landowners.
Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
A partnership of agricultural and conservation groups in the Gallatin Valley has recently been approved for $3.8M in funding through the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). This program creates a special 5-year funding pool for conservation projects in the Gallatin Valley that enhance water quality, soil health, and water quantity. As the lead partner, we are currently working on conservation projects that are eligible for this funding. The RCPP is especially beneficial for potential conservation landowners because it is dedicated funding to this area, eliminating the statewide competition we usually face when funding projects with the NRCS.