Land protection planning for the Centennial Valley Conservation Easement Program included the following:
Southwestern Montana's remote Centennial Valley encompasses some of the highest quality remaining intermountain wetlands in the West. Lying east of the Continental Divide, the valley is near the uppermost reach of the Missouri River drainage. Wetlands and riparian areas support a suite of plants and animals, while the valley's sandhills, grasslands, and sagebrush uplands support an entirely different suite of plants and animals. This naturally diverse area hosts more than 260 species of birds, with the peregrine falcon, bald eagle, sage-grouse, and trumpeter swan being the most notable. Common mammal species include pronghorn, moose, mule and white-tailed deer, and red fox. Streams in the valley are home to Arctic grayling and westslope cutthroat trout. The valley has more than 40 plant species of concern including sand wildrye and Platte cinquefoil.
The Centennial Valley remains biologically intact and has not been converted to housing development. However, the rural character of valley is likely to undergo substantial change in the next 10– 20 years. Through the environmental analysis process, the Service established the Centennial Valley Conservation Easement Program. The purpose of the conservation easement program is to maintain the integrity of wildlife habitat on a landscape scale by helping to maintain open space in a rural setting. This project helps protect the valley from drastic change caused by widespread, unplanned residential or commercial development.
The land protection plan sets the following guidance:
The Service is acquiring conservation easements in the Centennial Valley by donations and through purchase, primarily of quality wetland, grassland, and mountain habitats and for overall protection of intact intermountain landscapes. Conservation easements are designed primarily to maintain habitat integrity and not necessarily to change management of private lands. Furthermore, the Service views the Centennial Valley Easement Program as compatible with current ranching management practices such as grazing. Easement contracts specify perpetual protection of habitat for trust species and limits on residential, industrial, or commercial development. Easement land remains in private ownership; therefore, property tax and invasive plant control remains the responsibility of the landowner, who also retains control of public access to the land.
Environmental assessment (EA) and
land protection plan (LPP)
EA and LPP 2004 (11 MB PDF)
By section, for faster download:
Environmental assessment (EA), chapter 1, purpose (5 MB PDF)
EA, chapter 2, alternatives (6 MB PDF)
EA, chapter 3, affected environment (PDF)
EA, chapter 4, environmental consequences (PDF)
EA, chapter 5, coordination (PDF)
EA, appendices (PDF)