We are in year three of the implementation of a ten year plan to address climate change in the Crown of the Continent through our Conservation Agenda, but already we are experiencing great success:
- Lead by Wildsight, Y2Y and NPCA, the Transboundary Flathead team has successfully advocated for a ban on oil, gas and mineral withdrawal from the BC portion of the watershed; on the Montana side Senate Bill 255 – the North Fork Protection Act – now enjoys bipartisan support for the withdrawal of oil and gas development from 400,000 acres of the North Fork River valley. These groups are poised for additional conservation success in 2013.
- Spearheaded by NPCA, the Wilderness Society and others, a collaborative of non-traditional allies (timber interests, off-highway vehicle enthusiasts, business owners, ENGOS) is working to build bottom-up support for conservation in Montana’s Whitefish Range, a key-north south wildlife movement corridor identified by the Wildlife Conservation Society.
- The Nature Conservancy’s Montana Legacy Project is the most ambitious private land conservation effort ever undertaken in the United States, and has protected 310,000 acres of land critical for climate adaptation purposes.
- Throughout the same region The Wilderness Society is leading a massive forest restoration project called the Southwest Crown Collaborative. This new undertaking is designed around the principals developed in CCCI’s Climate Impacts Assessment and will maintain working lands jobs while managing 1.5M acres of the Flathead, Lolo and Helena National Forests for the impacts of climate change.
- On Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, a coalition of ranchers, landowners, hunters and community leaders has advocated for protection of this unique American landscape. Legislation to protect it is a top priority for retiring Senator Max Baucus. We are now building a coalition of grassroots activists and Blackfeet tribal members to tackle the Badger-Two Medicine next.
- In Alberta, recognizing that as the climate changes wildlife will increasingly need to move between protected areas, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and CCCI partners have breathed new life into the 30-year campaign to protect the 1000 sq. km Castle Special Place, bringing hope for long term, permanent protection. This remains one of CCCI’s best opportunities for future success.
- We are working with new allies such as the Blackfeet and the Confederated Kootenay Salish Tribes (CKST), and the early results are tremendous. Anschutz Petroleum Exploration pulled out has pulled out of its proposed gas play on the Blackfeet Reservation, and the CKST is undertaking a first-of-its-kind Climate Impacts Assessment of its entire reservation.