Montana Wildlife Federation – Celebrating 75 years of success

By Larry J. Schweiger

I’m looking forward to joining the Montana Wildlife Federation Saturday April 17 to celebrate 75 years of success. National Wildlife Federation shares Montana Wildlife Federation’s conservation values and history. At the first gathering of the North American Wildlife Conference in 1936, where National Wildlife Federation was formed, Montana sent five delegates to that meeting. They went back and started Montana Wildlife Federation.

Montana Wildlife Federation has been fighting for Montana’s wildlife ever since, which is a good thing since Montana’s wildlife is facing some of their toughest challenges ever:

Due to warmer winter temperatures and less precipitation, most Montana rivers are at 50% of their snowpack.

Fishing restrictions in Montana are expected to start as early as July this year. This has happened in five of the past seven years. This is no longer the trend but the norm.

The current drought in the West is the worst in 500 years.

Warmer, drier conditions have caused a fourfold increase in the number of wildfires in the West. The acreage burned by wildfires will double by 2100. Montana will be particularly hard hit. One doesn’t have to look far to see red and dying trees caused by mountain pine bark beetles. Upwards of 70% of some Montana forests have been affected.

Big sagebrush habitats could decline by almost 60%.

This will have devastating consequences on sage grouse, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope.

Higher stream temperatures could reduce cold water trout habitat up to 50% percent in Montana.

Up to 90 percent of Prairie Potholes would be destroyed by global warming. The Prairie Potholes are America’s “duck factory.”

Montana’s youth are facing the indoors deficit facing children across the country – the typical child today spends over seven hours a day in front of a screen and only four to seven minutes a day in unstructured playtime outdoors.

Montana’s outdoors industry is threatened as wildlife is on the frontlines. Over half of Montanans hunt and fish, and outdoor recreation results in $1.1 billion in consumer spending and 21,755 jobs created.

I’m looking forward on Saturday to joining the courageous men and women of Montana Wildlife Federation who are “mapping out a course of action and following it to the end” to protect Montana’s most special places and get Montana’s kids outdoors to inspire a love of nature.