Check back each month to see our favorite nature photos from Montana!
This summer, you voted in our What’s Your Nature? photo contest. We’re excited to share that this stellar shot from Debbie Salvesen in Montana made to the Top 100! "The image of this prairie dog reminds me of an older scruffy male with a cigar hanging out of the side of his mouth,” said Salvesen. "I love the character and spunk he portrays naturally. Hopefully this animal and many more survived the out-of-control fires in Glacier National Park where I photographed him.”
There are many breathtaking views in Montana, but this golden sunset is made all the more precious because this shimmering light is reflecting off critical habitat for birds. When glaciers retreated from this area, they left behind a remarkable array of ponds, sloughs, marshes, fens and lakes, creating the incredible lands of the Conservancy’s Safe Harbor Marsh Preserve. These wetlands support an array of cattail and bulrush and sedges that attract a variety of avian visitors.
The Canada lynx is a creature that thrives on Montana’s long, snowy winters. Its light weight, oversized paws and long legs allow it to practically float over deep snow, and as other predators head to lower elevations during the winter, the lynx finds itself with less competition for food. But as climate change reduces snow pack and brings earlier spring melt, those same traits leave this beautiful cat at a huge disadvantage. The Nature Conservancy in Montana is stepping up to the challenge to protecting this species. In fact, the Montana chapter's Clearwater-Blackfoot and historic Montana Legacy projects have secured the heart of the nearly 40-thousand square miles designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife as critical habitat for Canada lynx. To support projects like these, consider making a monthly contribution.
With financial assistance from Montana’s Forests in Focus program we’re thinning dense forests to reduce the fuel available for potential fires. Our efforts are opening the forest, decreasing the chance that a fire could climb into the tree canopies and quickly spread. These more open forests also allow more light and moisture in to nurture the remaining trees, increasing their growth and the amount of carbon they can store.
The mountains, valleys, and streams of the High Divide Headwaters constitute a biologically rich and intact landscape that serves as a critical wildlife linkage between the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to the east and the Crown of the Continent to the north. The High Divide Headwaters remains a working wilderness of multi-generational ranches intermixed with public lands and protected areas. However, this sweeping landscape faces a number of threats, such as climate change, development, and increasing demand for water. Discover how the Conservancy is using science-based management practices and working with the community to secure the future of the High Divide.
The Conservancy's Pine Butte Preserve is situated on Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, where the mountains meet the prairies in a dramatic convergence of rocky cliffs abutting grassy hills. This aweinspiring landscape is one of the most biologically rich regions in the entire country, and one of the last places where grizzly bears still venture out onto the open plains. Though free ranging herds of bison are all but gone, all the other animals found here by the Lewis and Clark Expedition still roam free. Learn more about our conservation work at the preserve.
Forests are key to fighting climate change; when healthy, they absorb carbon from the atmosphere. But can thinning young forests make them more effective at storing carbon? Results of a new study point to yes. Learn more about the study conducted by University of Montana scientist and Nature Conservancy Stewardship Assistant, Mike Schaedel, and what it means for the Clearwater-Blackfoot Project.
Hugging the eastern slopes of Glacier National Park, the Blackfeet Reservation is vital habitat for much of the park’s extraordinary wildlife. In addition to these bighorn sheep lambs, the land shelters a rich variety of other wildlife and bird species. The reservation is also home to the Blackfeet Nation, with whom the Conservancy works to create enduring conservation outcomes.
Dawn breaks at The Nature Conservancy’s Matador Ranch. This fall, above-average rainfall filled wetlands across the entire region. These wetlands are critical resting and feeding areas for waterfowl that migrate in the fall through the interior of North America, with some, such as blue-winged teal, traveling all the way to northern portions of South America for the winter. In March, ducks and shorebirds will return once again to nest in this region, which supports 70% of the continent’s breeding waterfowl population. Learn more about our work in preserving these landscapes.
Congratulations to Gail Moser for winning "Best Wildlife Photo" in the Montana Chapter’s 2016 Staff Photo Contest! Long-billed curlew, like the one captured in this beautiful photo, are one of many bird species threatened by the disappearance of grassland habitat. Learn how we are working with partners and ranchers to conserve this critical landscape.
American badgers are just one of many creatures that depend on the health of Montana’s open grasslands for survival, and this fall, you may just catch a glimpse of them as they explore our rolling plains seeking a mate. The Conservancy is working with local ranchers in the Northern Great Plains to protect these ecosystems for wildlife, such as badgers and pronghorn, while maintaining a healthy bottom line for family ranching.
This month marks one year since the federal government announced they would not be providing endangered species protections for the greater sage grouse. Learn more about what the Conservancy has accomplished to help this iconic Western bird since then.
Pronghorn are the fastest land mammals in North America, reaching speeds up to 60 miles per hour, earning them monikers such as "speed goat" and "sagebrush rocket." In fact, they are one of the fastest animals on the planet, second only to the cheetahs.
This summer, Climate Ride is hosting two four-day hiking events in Montana, exploring more than 40 miles of Glacier National Park. Participants will begin their hike in West Glacier and follow iconic trails within the Park, part of the Crown of the Continent, 10-million acres of some of the most intact wilderness on the entire continent.
Montana's Crown of the Continent is one of perhaps a dozen places on the planet that remains a complete and functioning natural system. It contains critical habitat and travel zone for the continent's most magnificent wildlife, including grizzly bears, Canada lynx, elk and wolverine. Discover what The Nature Conservancy in Montana is doing to preserve this landscape for the people and wildlife that depend on its resources.
Surrounded by the ragged forest peaks of the Centennial and Gravelly Mountains, the Red Rock River system in Montana's Centennial Valley supports trumpeter swans and other iconic wildlife, as well as the people that depend on these watersheds for clean water downstream. The Conservancy works to protect the integrity of the land in a way that benefits both ranching and wildlife through stewardship, partnerships, and collaboration with Centennial landowners.
The Nevada Lake Wildlife Management Area expanded by 760 acres thanks to a transfer from The Nature Conservancy to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. This transfer, as a key component of the Clear Creek Conservation Project, secures vital habitat and movement corridors for animals such as grizzly bears and Canada lynx, as well as important winter range for mule deer and elk.
Carrying the name of our first national park, the Yellowstone River holds an honored place in the nation's history. As the last undammed river in the West, the water is fast and full of fish, including trout and the endangered Pallid Sturgeon.
The crystalline waters of Flathead River now flow wild and clean thanks to The North Fork Watershed Protection Act. Passed by Congress in Dec. 2014, this act bans mineral exploration on 430,000 acres of the river. This important legislation, coupled with successful international partnership, ensure this pristine waterway will endure for future generations.
Along The Nature Conservancy’s Pine Butte Swamp Preserve looms a 500-foot-tall sandstone butte from which you can see the vast reach of grasses and wetlands that support an array of plant and animal species. Learn more about our long-term management plan to protect this unique landscape.