Flathead Audubon gets involved in carefully selected conservation issues. The Flathead Audubon Conservation Committee gathers information on such issues and brings this to the Board of Directors for formulation of Flathead Audubon’s position on the issue. Conservation Committee members and Board members then act to promote that position by working cooperatively with other groups or managing agencies, attending relevant planning or comment meetings, conversing with appropriate agencies and officials, and/or submitting written comments. For details and some examples see our Conservation Advocacy section
Conservation Protection for Local Habitat
Flathead Audubon works in partnership with other organizations to provide conservation protection for local at-risk bird and wildlife habitat in Flathead County.
Our long-term protection of the Owen Sowerwine Natural Area (OSNA) is one such project. OSNA is a 442-acre parcel of state school trust land, located east of Kalispell where the Stillwater and Flathead Rivers come together. Montana Audubon holds the DNRC license for OSNA, and Flathead and Montana Audubon share the license payment. The two Audubons cooperatively manage the Area, with Flathead Audubon serving as the local manager.
OSNA is a largely in-tact piece of the riparian corridor that meanders through the Flathead Valley from Glacier Park to the Flathead Lake along the Flathead River. Audubon’s management of OSNA as a Natural Area maintains this piece of wildlife and aquatic life habitat in its natural state, protects its wildlife and aquatic life from extreme human disturbance, maintains its natural riparian and wetland vegetation, enhances water quality of the Flathead River, and allows natural flooding in the braided section of the River. The Area is covered with cottonwood forests, and is home to a wide variety of native birds. OSNA is one of the three designated Important Bird Areas in the Flathead Valley.
Another recent Conservation Protection project is the establishment of the Alvord Lake Community Forest. Flathead Audubon worked with the Vital Ground Foundation and other groups to support and finance the purchase this parcel of lake shore habitat on Alvord Lake near Libby, and designate it as a protected Community Forest.