A Delectable Menu for Montana-based Conservation

West Valley project area near Kalispell, MT.

Hungry for information about conservation programs for landowners? Craving a one-stop shop of current conservation resources? If so, Montana residents can satisfy their appetites with the Montana Conservation Menu.

The Montana Conservation Menu is a website designed by the Soil & Water Conservation Districts of Montana (SWCDM). Here landowners can find the “soup to nuts” of conservation resources – from non-profits to federal, state, and local agency programs – in one easy-to-use website. The á la carte listing allows users to sort by the target resource, the type of assistance offered (e.g. cost share, technical assistance, etc.), and the agency offering the program. There are also dozens of more specific tags and a key word search to find programs. To ensure freshness, program information is updated and added to on a regular basis.

“We know that there are a ton of programs available to help landowners implement conservation work on their land, but sometimes it can be hard to find information on those programs. It can also be hard for some agencies to advertise their programs, and information is often buried deep on government websites,” states the SWCDM website.

When those programs are ordered up by willing partners, the results can really hit the spot. Take for example the recently completed project in West Valley near Kalispell, MT, that conserves almost 400 acres of vital staging area for sandhill crane fall migration and rich farmland. The main fare for the project comes from the Montana Conservation Menu – namely, the NRCS Agricultural Conservation Easement Program–Agricultural Land Easement and North American Wetlands Conservation Act Grants – and is complemented by a medley of 80 partners and contributors from the community. The resulting conservation easement held by the Flathead Land Trust preserves the landowners’ legacy by keeping the farmland intact and allowing for future agricultural production, while also providing benefits for more than 150 species of birds including tens of thousands of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds each year.

Whet your appetite for conservation by checking out the Montana Conservation Menu’s satisfying selection of conservation resources. It pairs nicely with the IWJV Montana Bird Conservation Partnership, a coalition of state, federal, and tribal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector dedicated to conserving bird populations and habitats in Montana. Because conservation is a dish best served collaboratively!