Dillon, Mont., September 13, 2012 —The Southwest Montana Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) and the Tri County RAC will meet this week to review proposals for funding under the Secure Rural Schools Act. Southwest Montana RAC includes lands within Beaverhead, Madison, Jefferson and Silver Bow Counties. Tri County RAC includes lands within Granite, Powell and Deer Lodge Counties.
The RACs are federally sanctioned groups which represent a cross section of county communities, industries, schools, environmentalists, and local government. They serve as a mechanism for local community collaboration with federal land managers in recommending projects on federal lands or that will benefit resources on federal land. Title II funds projects that improve the maintenance of existing infrastructure, implement stewardship objectives that enhance forest ecosystems, and restore and improve land health and water quality. Beaverhead, Madison, Jefferson and Silver Bow Counties make up the Southwest Montana RAC.
According to RAC coordinator Patty Bates, “each RAC committee will have more than $300,000 to recommend spending on projects this coming year; the funding is made available through the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act”. The RAC works closely with the Forest Service to recommend projects that will benefit Forest health, fish, wildlife, soils, watersheds and other resources; maintain roads, trails, and other infrastructure; or control noxious weeds.
Title II projects fund work such as restoring watersheds, decommissioning roads, removing noxious and invasive weeds, and maintaining roads and trails. The funds are made available by the counties which receive federal funds based on the percentage of land in federal ownership, timber receipt payments, and per capita income. In recent years, the Tri County RAC has recommended funding more than $1.3 million in improvement projects; Southwest Montana RAC has recommended more than $1.2 million in funding.
The Southwest Montana RAC meeting is scheduled for Thu, Sept. 20 from 1p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Beaverhead County Search and Rescue Building, 1116 Highway 41, Dillon. The Tri County RAC meeting will occur Tue., September 18 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the USDA Service Center, 1002 Hollenbeck Lane in Deer Lodge. Both meetings are open to the public.
For more information, call Patty Bates, Beaverhead-Deerlodge Forest RAC Coordinator, at (406) 683-3979, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Resource Advisory Committee website at https://fsplaces.fs.fed.us/fsfiles/unit/wo/secure_rural_schools.nsf.