photo: Will Moss
The Bitter Root Land Trust is dedicated to assisting participating landowners with restoration or enhancement of the health and vitality of their land. Our stewardship assistance ranges from identifying opportunities for restoring natural habitat to identifying funding sources to help offset the costs of these projects. We also connect our members and volunteers to the lands they help protect with hands-on opportunities to assist interested landowners with on-the-ground stewardship projects.
Stewardship begins with a baseline analysis of a piece of land. We begin with a meeting with the landowner to discuss land use and landownership history, rare plant and animal sightings, etc. Then a survey is conducted of the property to create maps of habitat, existing infrastructure (roads, wells, fences, etc.) and land uses (agriculture, residential, forestry, etc.). We next establish photopoints-photographs from a fixed location in a fixed direction every year to monitor the conditions and uses of the land over time. Finally, a written report is created - the Baseline Survey - that provides a narrative description of the landscape context when the easement is established.
photo: Will Moss
At least once a year, we then meet with each easement landowner to monitor the easement and discuss changes in the land and landowner concerns. We take photographs at each photopoint, and visually survey the land to document man-made (e.g., irrigation installation, fence repair) and natural alterations (e.g., from flood, fire, weeds) to the landscape. We also list any other observations-bird sightings, plants, etc. This annual visit is a chance to be one part monitor and one part partner in stewardship by checking in with the landowner and making suggestions/ alterations to stewardship plans.