July is Montana Open Land Month!
Montana Open Land Month is a celebration of open spaces and everything they represent throughout the state including our agricultural heritage, outdoor recreation, clean water and air, wildlife habitat, scenery and economic benefits. You can learn more about Montana Open Land Month and how you can celebrate here.
MARS is proud to support open land in Montana both during this month and throughout the year as we work with landowners across the state to restore, enhance and preserve land and water resources. Read more about MARS programs and how they benefit the preservation of open land on our website.
Bioengineering as an alternative to hard bank stabilization
In March, MARS' Emily Jochem and Christina Herron-Sweet attended a bioengineering bank stabilization workshop hosted by the Madison Conservation District. Bioengineering uses natural materials such as willows and conifer brush fascines to stabilize banks rather than hard stabilization
such as rip rap. We also learned:
- Bioengineering promotes natural stream dynamics, improves water quality and provides habitat for fish and other aquatic life.
- Successful restoration projects will match the geomorphic and ecological setting in which they are created. They can adapt to changing environmental conditions, unlike hard stabilization.
- Bioengineering techniques do not inhibit a stream's ability to move across its floodplain, but do slow the migration to a predictable and manageable rate.
National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference
Emily Jochem, MARS Big Sky Watershed Corps Member for 2016, represented MARS at the National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference in Fort Worth, TX in May. The 500 attendees at the conference were from many sectors of the mitigation industry including ILF programs, mitigation bankers, regulators, agency personnel, consultants and scientists. Aquatic resources in the U.S. are protected by federal, state, tribal and local laws and ordinances. The federal Mitigation Rule identifies commercial mitigation banks as one of three options to provide compensation for unavoidable impacts to regulated aquatic resources. MARS In-Lieu Fee Program is another option, providing mitigation for these impacts as a nonprofit conservation entity. We provide a means for communities, land trusts, other conservation organizations, and agencies to work together to conserve rivers, streams and wetlands.
Staff and Board Updates
MARS welcomes two new Board members:
Kelly Beevers works in real estate investing and conservation at Beartooth Capital Partners. She brings over 6 years of real estate transaction experience.
Steve Carpenedo is a Senior Wetlands Specialist with Montana DEQ. He has 20 years of experience working in conservation, wildlife and wetlands science.
MARS hosted a farewell Board and staff retreat in June to say goodbye to Christina Herron-Sweet. Christina served as MARS' Big Sky Watershed Corps Member in 2015 and as Program Assistant in 2016. She will be moving to Denmark to explore life on the other side of the pond. We hope that she will one day return to MARS, as she was instrumental in moving our programs and projects forward.
We also bid farewell to Board Director Ada Montague who served MARS for the past year. Ada has accepted a new position at Montana DNRC as a Water Resource Planner. We would like to thank Ada for her dedication, commitment and tireless enthusiasm for conserving Montana's water resources.
Look for MARS...
We will be at the following events, come find us!
MARS participated in Give Big Gallatin Valley on May 3rd. In total, $434,032 was raised to support nonprofits throughout the county! Thank you to those who donated and to the Bozeman Area Community Foundation for hosting the event.