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County forest RAC announces projects

The Ravalli County Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) has approved 12 projects for funding. All of the projects will benefit National Forest System lands and ecosystems in Ravalli County. The committee allocated a total of nearly $200,000 in project funding.
The committee reviewed 17 proposals. The funding will support a wide diversity of projects in the Bitterroot Valley including constructing a new horse camp area, improving bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout habitat, replacing the washed out Mill Creek Trail footbridge, repairing and maintaining Bitterroot Canyon trails, and fighting and eradicating invasive weeds including Dalmation Toadflax, just to name a few. The following projects were approved:
• New wood decking on Lake Como footbridge – Bitter Root Irrigation District, $1,640
• Fish habitat improvements in upper West Fork – Bitterroot National Forest, $3,600
• Install vault toilet vent pipe screens, protect wildlife – Bitterroot National Forest, $6,000
• Coordination of Bitterroot Bio-Control Program – Ravalli County Weed District, $8,960
• Mill Creek Trail bridge replacement – Montana Conservation Corps (MCC), $9,000
• Wildlife habitat planting enhancement project – Bitterroot National Forest, $10,500
• Boulder Creek Horse Camp – Bitter Root Back Country Horsemen, $12,000
• Little Blue Joint Creek Culvert Replacement – Bitterroot National Forest, $15,000
• Eastside Dalmation Toadflax Project, phase one – Ravalli County Weed District, $15,300
• St. Mary’s Peak Lookout Stewardship – Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Found., $20,743
• Classroom Without Walls Program – Corvallis High School, $32,650
• Maintenance of Bitterroot Canyon Trails – Montana Conservation Corps (MCC), $63,000
Total: $198,393
Since 2001, the RAC has approved more than $1.8 million in funding for projects that benefit National Forest system lands in Ravalli County.
RAC projects must meet established criteria and improve federal lands in the following areas: roads, trails, infrastructure maintenance, soil and forest ecosystem health, watershed restoration, maintenance and improvement of wildlife and fish habitat, control of noxious weeds, and re-establishment of native species. At least 50 percent of all project funds are dedicated to restoring streams and watersheds; or road maintenance, decommissioning or removal. Projects may be on private land, but must show a direct benefit to National Forest System lands.
Resource Advisory Committees were established in 2000 under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. In addition to approving project funding, the RAC is also dedicated to improving collaborative relationships. For more information contact Dan Ritter at the Stevensville Ranger District at (406) 777-5461.

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