The Montana Conservationist February 6

Greetings, TMC readers! You’ve officially made it through the longest month of the year (if not actually the longest mathematically, I’m pretty sure January is the longest metaphorically). It’s now February, my mailbox is full of seed catalogs, and a little groundhog told me there might be hope yet. Here’s what’s in TMC this week:

  • NRCS reports on Snow Water Equivalents in basins across the state are looking a little scarce. Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted an early spring this year, but water users are hoping that winter hangs on and dumps quite a bit more snow before we start to thaw out.
  • This week, legislators took up the first proposal for funding AIS inspection stations. The bill would create new AIS prevention passes for boat owners, fees from which would fund inspection stations and monitoring. Many are in support of the proposal, but anglers and outdoors groups would like other users to shoulder more of the burden.
  • Meanwhile, FWP has released two reports on the 2018 AIS activities, including 16 out of state boats intercepted with invasive mussels this summer.
  • The MSU campus has been designated a “Bee Campus USA” by the Xerces society for their efforts to protect pollinators and support pollinator habitat around the campus.
  • The American Society of Agronomy reports that implementing the practice of prairie strips amongst monoculture crops can reap great benefits, including reducing soil loss, overland water flow, and nutrient loss.
  • A new report shows that female landowners are key to conservation implementation. Almost a third of all farms in the US are farmed or co-farmed by women, many of whom have a strong conservation ethic. However, gender barriers mean women are underrepresented in use of USDA conservation programs.
  • The Montana Standard has a great story on the work of Jen Downing, the Big Hole Watershed Committee Executive Director who was recently honored with a watershed stewardship award from MWCC, and is stepping down from her post.
  • Montana DNRC is requesting more funding from the state legislature to increase logging on national forests.
  • Finally, the latest in “There’s an App for That!” is a couple of great apps that let citizens help keep track of insect populations. If you’re looking for an upgrade from the Christmas bird count, we highly recommend a butterfly count.

All of that, plus new grant opportunities and more in TMC this week: TMC 2019-02-06