The Flathead River Conservation Project

Published on August 22, 2018 under News

Thank you to Wings in Nature for donating their time and expertise in making this amazing video for us.  Also, thank you to @Torrance.Summits for additional drone footage.

We Did It! You Helped Us Conserve the Heart of the Flathead Valley!

On May 8, 2020 in partnership with the Danford family, we officially completed the Flathead River Conservation Project. We couldn’t have done it with out the support from many individuals, grantors, and organizations.  Over the past two years we have been fundraising to obtain $128,250 in non-Federal match needed to keep a $513,000 grant received from the Natural Resource Conservation Service Agricultural Land Easement Program in order to bring this important project to fruition. Thanks so much to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Conoco Phillips Spirit of Conservation Program, Cinnabar Foundation, Horne Family Foundation, Charlotte Martin Foundation, Vital Ground Foundation, Flathead Valley Trout Unlimited, Montana Trout Unlimited, the Flathead Lakers, Flathead Wildlife, our Flathead River to Lake Initiative partners, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and over 100 individual donors for making this project possible.  The Danford family also donated over a third of the value of the conservation easement through a bargain sale.

This conservation easement protects open space in the heart of our valley and water quality of the Flathead River and Flathead Lake. The Flathead River and Flathead Lake are rare gems unmatched anywhere else in the western United States and this important conservation helps to keep them that way.

It also adds protection to a critical puzzle piece that is adjacent to 725 acres and near 2,350 acres of land that is already conserved, securing a much larger connected piece of our landscape along the lower Flathead River.

A plethora of wildlife use the project property and threatened bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout, a species of special concern, use waters adjacent to the project property. Thousands of waterfowl use not only the river and wetlands on the project property, but also its farmland to feed and refuel on their migration. The conservation easement will keep rich soils identified as “prime farmland” or “farmland of statewide importance” by the Natural Resource Conservation Service in agriculture. The family has been farming and stewarding this wildlife-rich land for almost 100 years.

“We are very thankful and fortunate to work with the folks at the Flathead Land Trust that helped us make this ultimate goal come true to perpetually protect and preserve our beloved family farm and its unique wetlands for the future generations to come”  – Bob Danford and Terri Peterson.

Together, you helped to conserve the heart of the Flathead Valley, connecting key wildlife habitats, retain our beautiful open spaces, and preserve our exceptional water quality and agricultural heritage.  Thank you!