Montana Family Receives National Honor

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Today the Environmental Law Institute in Washington D.C.

awarded the Andrew and Anne Laszlo family of Ennis with the 2010

National Wetland Award for Landowner Stewardship for their exceptional

and innovative contributions to wetlands conservation.

The Laszlos, owners of Granger Ranches in Madison County, have

permanently protected more than half of their 14,000-acre ranch and

restored or enhanced 510 acres of wetlands and 35,000 feet of stream

channel and riparian habitats. This is the largest wetland and stream

restoration project of its kind in the state of Montana.

“Restoring floodplain wetlands has a host of benefits, not the least of

which is storing vital runoff and ground water that discharges into

streams and rivers, maintaining flows during critical summer months”,

says Tom Hinz with the Montana Wetlands Legacy Partnership.

Over the past five years, the family has worked with federal, state, and

private conservation partners to protect and restore a major portion of

the O’Dell Creek headwaters, part of an 8,000-acre wetland complex that


is part of Montana’s largest watershed. The area was drained for

livestock forage production back in the 1950s. Since 2004, the

restoration effort has filled or plugged 16,000 feet of drainage

ditches, restored more than 500 acres of wetlands, and created 35,000

feet of stream channel and adjacent riparian habitat. Between 2005 and

2009, the number of bird species using the area during the breeding

season increased from 11 to 90.

The Laszlo family sees the restoration effort as part of a broader

vision that supports sustainable cattle ranching and provides habitat

for fish and wildlife. The commitment and dedication of the Laszlo

family has also inspired local conservation organizations, agricultural

producers, school groups, hunters and anglers, community members, and other landowners to become involved in wetland restoration.

 

Source: DEQ

Posted by Kaci Switzer

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