2021 Conservation Leadership Award – MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks and Jeff Jones

Published on December 8, 2021 under News
2021 Conservation Leadership Award – MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks and Jeff Jones

We are excited to announce that the Flathead Land Trust 2021 Conservation Leadership Award has been given to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Region 1 with special recognition of Kris Tempel and Alan Wood, as well as to long-time FLT Board Member and Treasurer Jeff Jones.

The two awards were presented at Lone Pine State Park on November 29th to recognize the recipients for going beyond the call of duty for the benefit of Flathead Land Trust’s conservation efforts. Whose leadership, vision, collaboration, and ability to get things accomplished have furthered conservation efforts in the Flathead Valley and across NW Montana in a significant way.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Region 1 with special recognition of Kris Tempel and Alan Wood.

As Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little. Together, we can do so much”. FWP’s collaboration with our organization over the past several decades epitomizes that statement. Our strong partnership together has produced a lot of good for both our organizations, our communities and most importantly for lasting conservation of important land and water here in NW Montana.

It’s hard to do justice in recognizing FWP for all that the agency has done (and continues to do). There’s just too many conservation success stories to share…so here are some of the high notes of our collaborative work together.

We partnered on more than 14 conservation projects using Bonneville Power Administration Mitigation Funding for a total of 2,900 acres of important farmland, habitat, and floodplain conserved along the main stem of the Flathead River through the River to Lake Initiative. We have also worked extensively with the agency to conserve important migratory bird habitat along the north shore of Flathead Lake, a result of which is FWP’s 426-acre North Shore Wildlife Management Area. The agency has had a hand in helping us complete just about all of our conservation easement projects through Wildlife Mitigation Funding which helps pay due diligence conservation easement project costs.

In 2018, we partnered on the 400-acre West Valley Wetlands conservation project where FWP stepped up to develop and now manages a bird viewing area for the public at one of the only staging areas for sandhill cranes in the Flathead. And of course, there’s Somers Beach which is Montana’s newest State Park thanks to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks….and the Bad Rock Canyon Conservation Project, which when completed this month, will protect 772 acres of some of our finest wildlife habitat in the Flathead and secure public access as a new FWP Wildlife Management Area.

It should be noted that without FWP, Flathead Land Trust would never have had the capability of doing projects of this scale and complexity. But, by working together, we have been able to achieve so much more…and I think after Somers Beach and Bad Rock, the sky’s the limit!

Finally, we acknowledge that any partnership is only as good as the people you’re working with. We have many people in the agency to thank but I want to give special recognition to two folks who we have worked with the most – Kris Tempel and Alan Wood. Alan, as you may know, recently retired after a distinguished career at FWP where he helped to conserve hundreds of thousands of acres of critical habitat, forest and ag lands in NW Montana. Alan believed in the power of good partnerships and his collaborative spirit helped us to get some truly extraordinary conservation projects accomplished.

Kris is also a force for conservation. A gifted grant writer who always seems to pull a rabbit out of the hat with large federal funding proposals. Last year, Kris’s two funding proposals from the USFS Forest Legacy Program were ranked in the top 5 – in the nation! This includes a $4 Million grant we received for Bad Rock. Kris’s skills and talent are critical to the projects and our work together, especially as we navigate the many steps of complex public acquisitions. We can’t thank her enough for all that she does to ensure success and get important conservation projects like Bad Rock across the finish line.

Jeff Jones, long-time FLT Board Treasurer

Jeff joined the Flathead Land Trust board in May 2013. He then became board Treasurer in 2014 and has held the position ever since. Jeff has a Master’s degree in Wildlife Resources from University of Idaho and worked as an ecologist and wildlife biologist for the US Forest Service, working for the Flathead National Forest from 1998 until his retirement.

When Jeff joined the board and then agreed to become the Treasurer, the organization was financially in rough shape. Through Jeff’s keen eye for finances as Treasurer and his strong leadership as a committed board member, we are now more financially strong than ever. He is also one of a handful of past board members who have served for a full 9 years and has had to step off due to term limits which shows his commitment for this organization and the conservation work we do.

Jeff many times would bring a differing perspective to board discussions and financial issues which ultimately lead to better decisions being made for the organization. He spent countless hours analyzing, raising questions about and troubleshooting financial reports as board treasurer. He was always fully prepared and engaged leading productive finance committee meetings each month, and put in countless hours of time with the executive director working on annual budgets and day to day financial policy and procedures. His attention to detail, oversight and ability to raise tough questions are what have made us a more capable, more professional organization these past 9 years. An organization that would not have even contemplated doing big community conservation projects like Somers Beach and Bad Rock Canyon even 5 years ago.

Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the FLT Conservation Leadership Award – Montana FWP, Region 1 and Jeff Jones! Thank you for your exceptional partnership and commitment to conservation of our most cherished open spaces and wild places in northwest Montana.