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Funds available for land and water enhancement projects, rural schools

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BOZEMAN – The Gallatin County and Southern Montana Resource Advisory Committees are soliciting for project proposals to enhance forest ecosystems and restore and improve land health or water quality on the Custer and Gallatin National Forests and/or adjacent nearby lands.

The advisory councils will work with the Forest Service to collect proposals and recommend projects that will benefit forest health, fish, wildlife, soils, watersheds and other resources; maintain roads, trails, and other infrastructure; and/or control noxious weeds. Funding can also go toward the Secure Rural Schools program.

Projects can be completed through partnership agreements, by open-bid contracting with individuals and corporations, or by Forest Service personnel. Proposals are due Aug. 27.

In 2011 and 2012 Gallatin and Southern MT RAC’s approved more than 40 projects across the two national forests, working with over 60 organizations. The proposals represent the interests and needs of specific communities, said Custer and Gallatin Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson.

The funds are available because of Congress’s one-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. The extension will bring approximately $346 million to counties across the western U.S., according to the Gallatin National Forest.

Project Submission Forms are available on the Custer and Gallatin National Forest websites at fs.usda.gov/custer or fs.usda.gov/gallatin.

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