14-03: Recognition of Local Ecological Knowledge in Natural Resource Management

WHEREAS, since their authorization by the Montana Legislature in 1939, the Montana Soil and Water Conservation Districts have amassed a rich history of locally driven and implemented restoration and conservation activities,

WHEREAS, Montana is a large State with immense diversity of climate, soils, geology and vegetation,

WHEREAS, this diversity demands local knowledge to implement adaptive management to properly address the ecological, economic, and social issues of the region,

WHEREAS, long-term residents, land owners, and land managers have unique experience of local climate events that impact current land conditions and success of conservation activities,

WHEREAS, the personal involvement and observations of the effects of conservation and restoration activities by Conservation District Supervisors and other multi-generational local residents provides first-hand knowledge of how local ecological systems have responded to conservation activities or have evolved under current management strategies,

WHEREAS, this history, knowledge, and experience provides invaluable, practical information for agency planning efforts on public and private lands,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Montana Association of Conservation Districts support the development of a Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK) program in Conservation Districts and promote the value of local ecological knowledge to agencies and the importance of local support for conservation activities and management of public lands.