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MARS Spring 2016 Newsletter
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Montana Aquatic Resources Services (MARS) is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to ensuring that wetlands, streams and riparian areas remain healthy and continue to provide clean water to Montana farms, cities, industry and wildlife into the future.
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Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission Approves Purchase of First Channel Migration Easement in Richland County, Montana

On February 11th the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved final funding for a channel migration easement on the lower Yellowstone River using Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Program funding from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. MARS has been working with the landowner on this easement over the past two years in collaboration with The Montana Land Reliance (MLR) and Fish, Wildlife & Parks. MLR will hold and steward this landmark easement in perpetuity.  The 89.5 acre easement along the bank of the mainstem Yellowstone will allow the river to migrate across it's floodplain in part by prohibiting bank armoring or otherwise restricting the flow of the river. Allowing the river to migrate along its natural path will benefit native fish and wildlife habitat including the endangered pallid sturgeon, maintain water storage and discharge, conserve riparian vegetation and facilitate nutrient cycling. This is the first of many channel migration easements MARS plans to purchase from willing landowners along the Yellowstone from Park County to North Dakota. This easement was supported through funding provided by Western Area Power Administration and the Upper Basin Pallid Sturgeon Governing Board and Working Group. The landowners of this unique property are leaders in the effort to conserve the Yellowstone and its floodplain. Read more about the channel migration easement on our website

Welcome (back) Christina and Emily!
 
Christina Herron-Sweet has been hired as a Program Assistant. Christina worked with MARS in 2015 as an AmeriCorps member with the Big Sky Watershed Corps program. Christina has a Master of Science degree in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences from Montana State University in Bozeman, and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from St. Olaf College in Minnesota. As a program assistant she will work with other staff to plan and coordinate aquatic conservation projects, develop new programs, write grant proposals, and manage MARS’ communications and outreach.

Emily Jochem joined the MARS team as the new AmeriCorps member with the Big Sky Watershed Corps program.  Emily received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon in the spring of 2015.  Emily’s role at MARS includes helping to design and implement restoration projects, participating in outreach efforts to create new partnerships, facilitating community involvement and education, and developing new programs. 

Read more about MARS staff and Board members on ou
website.
Green Drinks 
 
In January MARS partnered with The Nature Conservancy to host Bozeman’s monthly Green Drinks. The event was a huge success with over 100 people attending from various non-profits, government agencies, companies, and curious community members wanting to learn more about conservation work occurring around the Gallatin Valley and statewide. Wildwood Brewery out of Stevensville graciously donated beer for the event (they are the only all organic brewery in Montana!) and Crazy Mountain Catering provided delicious wetland themed hors d’oeuvres. The theme of the night was Got Beaver? in honor of our aquatic friends that help keep our streams and wetlands healthy and functional. The next Green Drinks will be at the Refuge Building on March 23.
Board Updates
 
In January MARS said farewell to two outgoing Board members, Lynda Saul and Larisa Serbina. Both are moving on to new challenges and new opportunities but will be very hard to replace having served MARS enthusiastically these past several years.  If you or others you know may have interest in serving on MARS' Board, we are seeking new Board members with backgrounds in accounting/finances and communication/outreach. Please email us at info@montanaaquaticresources.org if you are interested!
Grants Awarded 
  • $12,000 from DEQ Wetland Strategic Framework Funding Grant to support Emily Jochem as our new Big Sky Watershed Corps member. 
  • $10,000 from DNRC Watershed Management Grant to grow the capacity of our Channel Migration Easement program. 
  • $25,000 from Northern Great Plains Joint Venture for Channel Migration Easement outreach and project implementation

Events and Presentations

Tom Hinz, MARS' Director of Program Development, presented our Channel Migration Easement (CME) program at the Yellowstone River Conservation District Council meeting on February 19th in Billings. Tom will also present the CME program at the Association of Montana Floodplain Managers Annual Conference  at Fairmont Hot Springs on March 16th.  
                                                                                                                  
Opportunities for Collaboration
 
MARS is available to meet with landowners and watershed groups to develop concepts and pursue funding for riparian, wetland and watershed restoration and conservation projects statewide. Email info@montanaaquaticresources.org for more information. 
Save the Date!

 
MARS is participating in Give Big Gallatin Valley on May 3rd, 2016. This is an online community giving event that connects community members with local nonprofits to reinforce the value of local philanthropic giving and community engagement. Learn more about the event at http://givebiggv.org and stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates!

Fun Fact: Beavers have a nictitating membrane, which is a  transparent inner eyelid, that enables them to see underwater- like goggles!
Copyright © 2016 Montana Freshwater Partners, All rights reserved.


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