Governor Gianforte Announces Project Agreements for Active Forest Management Across Montana

Governor Greg Gianforte today announced that project agreements of the cross-boundary, active management projects associated with the Montana Forest Action Plan have been signed and completed.

“This fire season has proven to all Montanans the importance of active forest management to reduce wildfire risk,” Governor Gianforte said. “These fourteen active management projects across the state will create more resilient forests, improve wildlife habitat, increase recreational opportunities, and support local economies with good-paying jobs in the forest products industry.”

Projects were chosen for funding based on their alignment with the goals and strategies of the recently completed Montana Forest Action Plan.

To help reduce wildfire risk across the state and improve forest health, the State of Montana committed $4.5 million from the fire suppression account and received $500,000 in grant funds from the USDA Forest Service.

With the project agreements now signed, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) will work to allocate funds and execute the contracts.

“Just like fire, forest health problems don’t stop at fence lines,” Gov. Gianforte said. “It’s critical that we continue to work together and partner across ownership boundaries to manage our forests so we can help protect our communities, infrastructure, and natural resources.”

The names of the selected projects, their general locations, and the amount of funding awarded are listed below:

Bozeman Municipal Watershed Cross-Boundary Forest Collaboration Project

Project Area: Bozeman

Amount Awarded: $350,000.00

Project Description: The proposed work area of this project includes municipal watersheds and municipal drinking supply infrastructure. It is located entirely in the WUI. This project will reduce the potential severity of a wildfire to existing municipal development and infrastructure and will increase forest resilience and promote healthy ecosystem functions. Treatments will include mechanical and nonmechanical thinning, commercial harvest, and prescribed fire on more than 800 acres.

Chalk Buttes Forest Fuels Mitigation

Project Area: Miles City

Amount Awarded: $375,000.00

Project Description: The goals of this project include reducing overstocked forest fuels, creating defendable spaces around infrastructure, and enhancing forest biodiversity and resilience. Treatments will involve reducing hazardous fuels; protecting homes, cabins, and communication towers; and creating jobs.

Fort Belknap – Bear Gulch Temporary Road

Project Area: Fort Belknap Indian Reservation

Amount Awarded: $32,000.00

Project Description: This project involves the design and construction of a temporary forestry road which will provide forest managers and landowners access to forested lands to conduct a BIA timber sale. The project area is owned by the Fort Belknap Tribe, and the road access and subsequent timber sale will support tribal forestry goals of improving forest health, reducing wildfire risk, and developing a forest product industry.

Gird Creek Stand Improvement and WUI Project

Project Area: Hamilton

Amount Awarded: $150,000.00

Project Description: This project will occur on State-owned land, and it builds on the Buckhorn GNA project currently being implemented on adjacent Forest Service lands. Project goals include protecting neighboring private landowners from severe wildland fire impacts while also improving forest health and wildlife habitat conditions. Activities will include construction of new road to allow access to and facilitate the timber harvest; vegetation treatments such as mechanized, ground-based logging operations, hand falling, and slashing activities; and site preparation, tree planting, and weed control.