14-05: Cooperation before Litigation in Natural Resource Conflicts

WHEREAS, Montana Soil and Water Conservation Districts have a rich history of working cooperatively with agencies such as NRCS, BLM and DNRC as well as watershed groups and NGOs to accomplish conservation work on the ground,

WHEREAS, some organizations and individuals regularly resort to litigation effectively halting conservation practices on the ground, including proven management practices to improve forest health, range condition, and wildlife habitat,

WHEREAS, the financial burden of this litigation is carried by the taxpayer resulting in less funding available for actual conservation activities,

WHEREAS, a collaborative approach to determining solutions on the ground and implementing solutions with broad support benefits all interests (private, State, Federal, and NGO),

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Montana Association of Conservation Districts seek legislation requiring that all organizations, agencies, and individuals bringing litigation to contest natural resource management on public lands in Montana, be required to provide proof that they have worked through the local Conservation Districts and watershed groups and exhausted all efforts to find a workable solution for the sustainability of the land,  the wildlife, and the communities that are economically, culturally, and socially dependent on that land.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Montana Association of Conservation Districts work closely with NRCS, Montana State University Extension, DNRC  and other agencies or seek funding for private consultation to aid with the technical support required for finding solutions.