The Ravalli County Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) has a deadline of December 31 this year for a new project proposals for this year's funding in Ravalli County. As in previous years, the projects must benefit National Forest System lands and ecosystems in the county. Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest noted that projects must meet certain criteria and would improve federal lands in such ways as roads and trail improvement, watershed restoration, infrastructure, ecosystem health, weed control, wildlife enhancements and re-establishment of native species.

Another rule for the committee's use of the federal funding is that they must keep 50 percent of the funds for restoring streams and watersheds or road maintenance. The projects can be on private land, but must show a direct benefit to the Bitterroot National Forest. The RAC was set up in 2000 under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. Since then, the Ravalli County RAC has approved over $2 million in projects such as replacement of damaged signs, sediment reduction on the East Fork of the Bitterroot River, culvert repair on forest roads, avalanche safety education, maintaining St. Mary's Peak lookout and weed removal. The committee has worked with a variety of organizations including Bitterroot Water Forum, Ravalli County Weed District, BEAR Co-op, and Ravalli County government.

The application forms are at the Forest Service website and applications can be sent to joni.lubke@usda.gov . If you have questions, contact Eric Winthers, the Darby/Sula District Ranger. His phone number is 406 821-4244 or Joni Lubke at 406 363-7100. Again, the deadline is December 31, 2020.