Rancher teams up with Montana nonprofit to protect land

POTOMAC (AP) — Nearly 570 acres of an historic ranch in western Montana are being preserved. A conservation easement has been placed on the Hayes Family Ranch in the Potomac Valley in Missoula County. The Missoulian reports that the nonprofit Five Valleys Land Trust in Missoula recently won approval from the Missoula County Board of Commissioners to use $295,000 of taxpayer-funded money, along with $569,000 worth of federal funding and cash contributions from the landowner for the easement. Vickie Edwards of Five Valleys says the land being conserved includes grassland, forest and wetland habitats that connect with other private, protected lands. The area is also home to bald eagles, green-winged teal and western meadowlark.