U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Division of Refuge Planning
Mountain-Prairie Region

Completed Plan Contacts

The Service completed this plan
in 2010.


EMAIL

bentonlake@fws.gov


ADDRESS

Blackfoot Valley Conservation Area
c/o Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex
922 Bootlegger Trail
Great Falls, Montana 59404


TELEPHONE

406 / 727 7400


WEB SITE

www.fws.gov/refuge/benton_lake_wmd

 

Land Protection Plan


Blackfoot Valley Conservation Area

Montana

Description

The Blackfoot Valley Conservation Area is a large-landscape conservation strategy to protect one of the last undeveloped, low-elevation, river valley ecosystems in western Montana.

  • Established in 1994 and expanded in 2010.
  • Comprises a project area of 824,024 acres in the Blackfoot River watershed.
  • Potential protection of 103,500 acres with conservation easements.
  • Located in northwestern Montana in Lewis and Clark, Missoula, and Powell Counties.

The Blackfoot Valley watershed is at the southern edge of the Crown of the Continent—one of North America's most intact ecosystems. This ecosystem is a 10 million-acre area of the northern Rocky Mountains that extends north into Canada—including Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, Castle Wilderness, Bob Marshall-Great Bear-Scapegoat Wilderness Complex, parts of the Flathead and Blackfeet Indian Reservations, Bureau of Land Management lands, and many acres of State and private lands. The Blackfoot Valley watershed is a critical connection between the Crown of the Continent and the Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem to the south.

The Blackfoot Valley Conservation Area is important for protecting unique plant communities and preventing the listing of several species. The conservation area provides a vital habitat corridor that connects USDA Forest Service land, Bureau of Land Management land, State wildlife management areas, Service waterfowl production areas and conservation easements, Partners for Fish and Wildlife projects, and The Nature Conservancy easements.

The land protection plan sets the following guidance:

  • Base acquisition priorities for conservation easements on the threat of development, connectivity to other protected lands, and quality of habitat for trust species such as grizzly bear.
  • Acquire conservation easements from willing sellers only. Use no fee-title acquisition.
Plan cover with photo of the lush Blackfoot Valley with wetlands and bordered by mountains.

The Blackfoot Valley watershed is formed by the Continental Divide (east), Garnet Mountains (south), Bob Marshall and Lincoln-Scapegoat Wildernesses (north), and Rattlesnake Wilderness (west).

  • Closely cooperate with partners to ensure successful protection of wildlife habitat and natural resources.
  • Manage the easement program as part of the Benton Lake Wetland Management District, administered by the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

Easement contracts specify perpetual protection of habitat for trust species and limits on residential, industrial, or commercial development. Contracts prohibit alteration of the natural topography, conversion of native grassland to cropland, drainage of wetland, and establishment of game farms.

Easement land remains in private ownership. Therefore, property tax and invasive plant control remain the responsibility of the landowner, who also retains control of public access to the land. Contracts do not restrict grazing on easement land.

You can find more information about the conservation area under comprehensive conservation planning for the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Documents

Land protection plan (LPP)
LPP 2010 (8 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Contents (PDF)
Chapter 1, Introduction (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 2, Area Description and Resources (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 3, Threats to and Status of Resources (PDF)
Chapter 4, Project Implementation (1 MB PDF)
Appendixes (5 MB PDF)

Environmental assessment (EA)
EA 2010 (7 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Contents (PDF)
Chapter 1, Purpose of and Need for Action (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 2, Alternatives (PDF)
Chapter 3, Affected Environment (2 MB PDF)
Chapter 4, Environmental Consequences (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 5, Coordination and Environmental Review (PDF)
Appendixes (5 MB PDF)

Draft EA and LPP
Draft EA and LPP 2010 (11 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Contents (PDF)
Chapter 1, Purpose of and Need for Action (3 MB PDF)
Chapter 2, Alternatives (PDF)
Chapter 3, Affected Environment (3 MB PDF)
Chapter 4, Environmental Consequences (PDF)
Chapter 5, Coordination and Environmental Review (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 6, Draft Land Protection Plan (1 MB PDF)
Appendixes (PDF)

Planning process documents
Fact sheet 2 2010 (2 MB PDF)
Fact sheet 1
2010 (1 MB PDF)