Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Land, Water and Wildlife coordinator hired

Clare Swanger chosen from 10 candidates

Express Staff Writer

Clare Swanger

Blaine County has hired Ketchum resident Clare Swanger as the new project coordinator for the county's Land, Water and Wildlife Levy.

Alan Reynolds, levy advisory board chair, said Swanger was chosen from 10 local candidates. The project coordinator is in charge of helping landowners develop applications for levy funding for conservation projects, a process Reynolds described as "very technical."

Other coordinator responsibilities include providing advice on available conservation tools, as well as coordination with legal counsel.

Swanger, whom Reynolds described as the "early favorite and frontrunner" of the candidates, previously served as executive director of the Taos Land Trust in New Mexico. She was also executive director of the New Mexico Land Conservancy, a conservation group that she started and guided in its efforts to protect more than 48,000 acres.

She currently runs a management consultant company in Ketchum, Swanger and Associates.

The Land, Water and Wildlife Levy was a two-year assessment on county property taxes to raise $3.25 million to protect wildlife habitat and open space in Blaine County.

No specific projects were proposed when voters approved the levy in November 2008. Applications for the first round of funds, set to be disbursed as early as March, is Feb. 15. The second deadline is July 15, with funding released in October.

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