The conservationist should look forward to the New Year is a time for the opportunity to further their objectives. The Montana Association of Conservation District MACD works in cooperation with the National Association of Conservation District to secure funding for worthwhile projects aimed at preserving and enhancing the natural resources of the land, water, and health. If you are interested in this then you can check all about this amazing project by clicking on Velgenklere and learn more about the ways through which you can contribute to this amazing cause.

The MACD has been existence for 60 years and provides a vehicle for individual citizens to promote and enhance the natural resources of the state. It provides instruction on pesticides, saline removal and a myriad of services for Montana’s land, animals and people. The structure of MACD is divided into six areas and one in a large area. Within each area, there are various districts that address the needs of local units.

For a detailed breakdown of the structure of MACD, you may access it on-line at http://www.macdnet.org/ There is an administrative office in Helena, Montana that provides small support staff for carrying on the objectives of the conservation districts. Anyone can be a member of a conservation district.

The overall mission of the Montana Association of Conservation District is to disseminate education, training, and information relevant to land uses as well as legislative information that affects the member districts throughout the state. The Conservation Districts are minimally funded by a one and a half mill levy on real property, but this does not adequately fund the various programs and endeavors of MACD. Thus, the conservation districts must rely on state and federal grants and loans to achieve their objectives around the state. The following state and federal grant programs are provided for review in determining their application to various concerns of the Conservation Districts.

Federal Grants:

The continuous friendship of Max Baucus, Montana’s senior senator for the land and the people of Montana will continue as Congress commences its next session in early January 2007. Max produces a newsletter called Hello, that I encourage everyone to read. http://baucus.senate.gov/. While Senator Max cannot pre-approve federal grants he will provide a letter of recommendation for all worthwhile projects eligible for federal grants. The links to various upcoming grant proposals may be found at http://www.grants.gov/. Specifically, the following grant must be submitted by mid- January 2007.

The grant is located at http://www.epa.gov/PESP/regional_grants/2007announcement.htm. This grant is offered by the EPA and is offered in its continued efforts to diminish the harmful effects of pesticide use in all EPA districts. The grant is for approximately $50,000 for each district in the U.S. This is one example of the links Senator Max Baucus provides in his newsletter. The advantage of accessing grants.gov is the ability to apply on-line and send in accompanying letters of recommendation in the mail.

State of Montana Grants:

The Montana Natural Resource Information System provides a list of available grants for individuals, local government and conservation districts throughout the state. This valuable database of all information pertaining to water, land and natural resources in Montana contains information that is useful for all members of the conservation districts. http://nris.mt.gov/drought/drought_responses.html.

In particular grants and loans are provided by the Montana Department of Commerce in the area of water conservation and emergency drought relief for areas in the state affected. A significant area of the state is incurring drought conditions. The state of Montana Commerce Department provides funding for water projects and conservation in the Treasure State Endowment Fund. This legislative funding device may be applied for by all affected members of a district with emergency or other water issues including bridges. The state administers the funds and an application must be provided for the exact nature of the project. Details are available through the Montana Department of Commerce.

The Department of Natural Resources provides various grants and loans for Renewable Resources and Range Improvement. These various grant applications are generally due by May 15, but contact the various state resource people in early January 2007 for an update. http://nris.state.mt.us/drought/assist/Grants_Loans.html#RRG. The DNRC administers various grants and will provide you with the necessary application and further instructions if the fact sheet is not adequate. The Renewable Resources grants are provided in even number years and the contact person is Pam Smith at 406 444-6839. The maximum grant is $100,000. Some of the other grants require an individual landowner to apply for the improvement loan others involve associations, districts, and another quasi-government status.

The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department is another source of grants for worthwhile projects affecting water quality and conservation. Currently, the department is offering a grant for Land and Water Conservation. This grant is offered to all local districts for the improvement of campgrounds, hiking trails, green areas. The maximum grant is $75,000. The funding for the balance of the project must be ascertained prior to grant approval. Full details are available at http://fwp.mt.gov/parks/grants/lwcf/factsheet.html. Members of the conservation district may be particularly interested in this improvement grant that is available through the state or local government partner. The deadline is February 28, 2007.

There are other grants offered by Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks which may be of keen interest to all conservation districts. The Off-Highway Vehicle Grant Program is open to conservation districts for the rehabilitation, education, and maintenance of off-road trails and roads. Additionally, weed control that is related to the off-road area is covered. The specifics of the eligibility and particulars of the grant process and application for this grant and others may be accessed by linking to http://fwp.mt.gov/parks/grants/default.html. You may call the headquarters at 406 444-4952 and ask to speak to the staff person in charge of grants and loans.

The New Year offers opportunities to those who seek and there are numerous contacts at all levels that are willing to lend a helping hand in filling out the necessary paperwork and applications. If you have ideas about possible funding projects that are not listed the MACD can assist in making contacts with Senator Max Baucus’s or Governor Schweitzer’s office for future grants that will enhance the state and its people.