Working Lands Updates

Full Reports:

Chico PERC Rancher Gathering 12-2019 (5).HEIC

The PVWLG acts as a stand-alone committee of the Upper Yellowstone Watershed Group representative of landowners dependent on working lands. The targeted communities of this effort are specifically ranchers and agricultural producers in the Paradise Valley. All agricultural operations from the Paradise Valley, whether owners, operators, leasers, renters, or tenants were invited and encouraged to attend and participate. This target group showed high levels of attendance and participation throughout this effort.

The initial effort to establish the Paradise Valley Working Lands Group (PVWLG), occurred over the course of 2021.  The effort of continuing the group into the future and the sustainability of the group is ongoing. Now that the group is established and has been meeting regularly, the goals and focus of the group will continue to be built upon and expanded. The PVWLG’s goal is to meet quarterly each year, and the group met January 28th 2021, June 23rd 2021, September 23rd 2021, and January 10th 2022.

This work has successfully provided a forum for ranchers and other owners of working lands to convene and discuss approaches and actions to better understand and conserve the agriculture, open space, rural character, and natural resources of Montana’s Paradise Valley. Prior to the establishment of this group there was not another entity in the watershed that created the space for these important conversations for this sector of our community. This effort has built understanding and relationships among landowners to facilitate cooperation and leverage greater influence. It has also provided opportunity for landowners to exchange information, gain technical expertise, and build support for collaborative and locally-led initiatives/projects.

There have been many collaborations throughout this effort, including with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, NRCS, Park Conservation District, Park County Community Foundation, and Property and Environment Research Group (PERC), to name a few. We are grateful to the generous support from Arthur M Blank Family Foundation who has made the establishment of this group possible. Looking forward we will be continuing these efforts and projects into 2022 and onward.

 

Focus and areas of discussion of the group have included the following:

  • Brucellosis quarantine compensation fund (PERC)

  • NRCS Forestry/ Invasive Conifer TIP

  • Invasive weed management

  • Irrigation video (capturing the history of irrigation in the watershed)

  • Elk distribution and tenure (landowner observation) map

  • Elk Citizen group briefings

  • 21-22 shoulder season for antlerless elk in HD 314

  • Elk occupancy agreement (PERC AND GYC)

  • Hunting regulation simplification

  • Hunt coordinator position

  • Clear policy on game damage hunt

  • PERC study on landowner tags: “Conserving wildlife habitat w/ Landowner Hunting permits – Lessons from western states to enhance voluntary conservation on private lands.”

  • PERC “Elk in Paradise” video and Report