Working with Local Governments to Protect Wetlands, Homes, Agriculture & Wildlife
For twenty years, Janet Ellis has worked to protect some of Montana’s most important natural areas. Working with residents, local government bodies, and conservationists around the state, Janet has dedicated herself to conserving wetlands and riverside areas. It’s not hard to see why it’s such important work. As Janet says, protecting wetlands and riverside areas is about controlling water pollution, protecting homes from flooding, preventing erosion, benefiting recreationists and the economy, providing vital habitat for wildlife, and maintaining the late summer stream flows so critical for irrigating crops, watering stock, and recharging aquifers.
For her Toyota TogetherGreen project, Janet wanted to continue this important work by supporting a project with a local government body interested in adopting stream protection measures but has been thwarted in its efforts to do so in the past. She and Montana’s Fish, Wildlife & Parks department created a committee to determine why past efforts have failed, and then created a campaign to help the local government adopt stream and wetland protection measures. A set of model rules were adopted to help conserve bird habitat from subdivision development.
Janet has a long history of success in this area: she persuaded Montana’s Lewis and Clark County’s Planning Board to recommend riparian and wetland setbacks be added to the county’s subdivision regulations. The Planning Board’s recommendations were eventually incorporated into regulations by the County Commissioners in 2005, helping protect approximately 200 miles of rivers, 1,000 miles of streams, 21,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs, and wetlands throughout the county. Not bad!