Montana tribes, ranchers deserve praise for their wetlands work

Posted: Dec 6, 2010

Written by

The Missoulian

Shortly before Montana's wetlands crusted over with ice and snow, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that its Wetlands Reserve Program has seen unprecedented enrollment this year and gave special mention to Montana's recent wetland conservation gains.

It seems we have much to brag about with this voluntary national program, which helped Montana increase the number of committed easements from two in 2009 to 14 this year - a total of more than 3,300 enrolled acres - according to the Montana Natural Resources Conservation Service. Montana's contribution helped bring the national total for 2010 to more than 272,000 acres, an astounding 52 percent increase over the previous year and the largest number of acres enrolled in a single year in the program's history.

The private landowners and Native American tribes in Montana and across the nation who have entered into these long-term conservation agreements deserve a round of applause for helping to slow the steady loss of wetlands in the United States. Thanks to these folks, the Wetlands Reserve Program now includes more than 2.3 million acres.

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