Skip Navigation

About the District

About the District_512x219

The Benton Lake Wetland Management District is managed as part of the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The District was established in 1975.  It covers 10 counties (Cascade, Chouteau, Glacier, Hill, Lewis & Clark, Liberty, Pondera, Powell, Teton, and Toole) and includes 23 waterfowl production areas, 3 conservation areas, and 4 distinct easement programs.  The District also includes conservation easement programs in Missoula and Lake counties.
 

  • Waterfowl Production Areas

    WPA_sign_old

    The Benton Lake Wetland Management District manages 23 waterfowl production areas totaling over 16,000 acres. WPAs are owned in fee-title and managed as units of the National Wildlife Refuge System. 

    Learn More
  • Conservation Areas

    About1

    The FWS has designated three Conservation Areas within the Benton Lake Wetland Management District: the Blackfoot Valley Conservation Area, the Rocky Mountain Front Conservation Area, and the Swan Valley Conservation Area.

    Learn More
  • Conservation Easements

    About_Con easements

    Conservation easements are perpetual and protect privately owned wetlands from being drained, filled, leveled or burned; protect grasslands from being converted to cropland; and they prevent privately owned land from being subdivided or developed. The USFWS purchases these real property rights from willing sellers, and the private landowner maintains all other property and management rights including full control of public access to their land.

     

    Funding for the purchase of conservation easements within one of our three designated Conservation Areas may come from Land and Water Conservation Fund Act.  Land and Water Conservation Act Fund money is derived primarily from oil and gas leases on the outer continental shelf, motorboat fuel tax revenues, and sale of surplus federal property.  Other funding sources may come from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, private donations, and non-profit organizations.

     

    The basic considerations in acquiring an easement interest in private land are the biological significance of the area, existing and anticipated threats to wildlife resources, and landowner interest in the program. The purchase of conservation easements occurs with willing sellers only and is subject to available funding. As of 2013, the Benton Lake Wetland Management District administers over 120,000 acres of conservation easements.
     

  • Wetland Easements

    Wetlands

    Wetland easements are perpetual and protect privately owned wetlands from being drained, filled, leveled, or burned. The USFWS purchases these real property interests from willing sellers, but the private landowner maintains all other property and management rights including full control of public access to their land. Wetland easements are purchased through the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which derives its funding through the sale of Federal Duck Stamps. As of 2013, the District administers 7,098 acres of wetland easements. 

  • Grassland Easements

    Grassland

    Grassland easements are perpetual and protect privately owned grasslands from conversion to cropland. The FWS purchases these real property interests from willing sellers, but the private landowner maintains all other property and management rights including full control of public access to their land. Funding for grassland easements comes primarily from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund.  As of 2013, the District administers 4,294 acres of grassland easements. 

  • Farmers Home Administration Easements

    Farmers Home Administration conservation easements were developed by the U.S. Congress under the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act of 1985 to establish easements for conservation, recreation, and wildlife purposes on properties that were foreclosed on by the Federal Government (inventory properties). The USFWS was designated as the easement manager on those easements worthy of inclusion into the National Wildlife Refuge System. The District administers 628 acres of perpetual Farmers Home Administration easements. 

Last Updated: Apr 26, 2013
Return to main navigation