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Comment Sought On Forest Conservation Needs Assessment

Friday, July 16, 1999

Headlines

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on a document that assesses the need to conserve Montana's privately owned forestland. The document will be used to help Montana qualify for federal forest conservation funds. FWP's "Assessment of Need" for Montana's Forest Legacy Program establishes goals and objectives, determines the eligibility criteria for lands to be included within the program, and establishes and describes six Forest Legacy Areas in forested locations across Montana.

The Forest Legacy Program is a federally funded conservation effort designed to help conserve forestlands by assisting with the purchase of conservation easements or fee-title purchase of private forestland. The U.S. Forest Service will manage the program through close cooperation with FWP, the Montana Department of Natural Resource and Conservation and the State Forest Stewardship Committee. USFS would provide up to 75 percent of the cost of purchasing conservation easements or fee title. The remaining 25 percent must be from non-federal sources.

"The program offers a unique opportunity for private, local, state, and federal interests to cooperatively furnish forest landowners with new incentives to voluntarily protect their forests," said Steve Knapp, FWP's wildlife habitat bureau chief.

Knapp said the overall goal of the Montana Forest Legacy Program is to conserve and enhance land, water, wildlife, and timber resources on working forestland that maintain natural and public values. "Our assessment of need shows how and why Montana hopes to qualify for participation in the Forest Legacy Program," Knapp said.

To comment, or to receive a copy of the Montana Forest Legacy Program Assessment of Need, contact the Habitat BureauWildlife Division, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701. Or call 406-444-2612. Public comment on the Assessment of Need will be accepted through Aug. 16.