The Healthy Watersheds Consortium awarded a $250,000 two-year grant to the Blue Mountain Land Trust (BMLT) to expand its conservation work in the John Day River Basin.
The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) also awarded a $66,000 grant to the Blue Mountain Land Trust for its John Day conservation work. Last week, OWEB’s board approved grants totaling $2,300,000 for the Blue Mountain Land Trust to acquire conservation easements on two properties in eastern Oregon.
The Healthy Watersheds Consortium is a partnership between the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The goal of the HWC Grant Program is to “accelerate strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds”, with primary focus on prevention of land deterioration in the watershed.
OWEB is an Oregon state agency that provides grants to help Oregonians protect and restore local streams, rivers, wetlands, and natural areas. Community members and landowners use scientific criteria to decide jointly what needs to be done to conserve and improve rivers and natural habitat in the places where they live. OWEB grants are funded from the Oregon Lottery, federal dollars, and salmon license plate revenue.
“We are very excited about the Healthy Watersheds Consortium and OWEB’s investments into our work in the John Day Basin,” said Amanda Martino, BMLT’s John Day Basin Conservation Manager. “These funds are critical to continuing and increasing our ability to permanently protect and conserve working farms and ranches and critical fish and wildlife habitat in eastern Oregon. We look forward to working with both of these partners in our conservation work on private lands.”
The US Forest Service also awarded a $15,000 grant to the Land Trust to support its natural resources education programs. The USFS grant assists BMLT with its Nature Kids educational series and some of its Learning on the Land programs. Nature Kids is a series of nine events for children in the Walla Walla region. The Land Trust plans to expand its educational programs to other communities within its service area. This summer, it will present five Learning on the Land events in John Day, Oregon.
“We’re incredibly grateful to work with Umatilla National Forest on developing environmental educational programs for the greater community,” said Lauren Platman, BMLT’s Education Specialist. “Programs, such as Nature Kids, help foster connections between children and their surrounding environment, which are vital to long-term environmental stewardship. We look forward to building and expanding the program with the Forest Service this year.”
The Blue Mountain Land Trust, headquartered in Walla Walla, Washington was established in 1999. The Land Trust has a second office in John Day, Oregon. It serves Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield, and Asotin counties in Washington and Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Gilliam, Grant, and Wheeler counties in Oregon. It is accredited by the Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Commission.