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This Watershed News is provided in partnership with
Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana.
Find more information on MWCC's Partnership Program here.

2020 Big Sky Watershed Corps Blogs

Check out the great work 2020 Big Sky Watershed Corps (BSWC) members have been getting done for watershed health across Montana! Emma Kelsick writes about building rain barrels with the Sun River Watershed Group, Grace Pierstorff of the Bitter Root Water Forum shares her experience teaching seventh-graders what a watershed is, and Reyna Abreu-Vigil takes us wading through streams to protect native fish habitat with Montana Trout Unlimited and the Lolo National Forest. 

BSWC is an AmeriCorps program that places young professionals in Montana’s watershed communities to make a measurable difference in local conservation initiatives. To learn more about the program, visit MWCC's BSWC web page.

To apply to host a BSWC member in 2021, click HERE. (Applications are due by Friday, September 11.) If you have any questions about the BSWC program, contact Terri Nichols at, or attend the Montana Conservation Corps informational webinar at 9am on Wednesday, September 2.

Ranchers Backing Beavers

We've heard stories from some ranchers who have found beavers or artificial beaver dams useful. Now we have a scientific paper to back up the benefits.. A USDA Forest Service Science Findings Paper details the findings and research of social scientist Susan Charnley and colleagues at the Pacific Northwest Research Station about case studies of ranchers participating in beaver-related restoration.

A few of the key findings:
  1. Ranchers who participated in the studies perceived that the benefits of beaver-related restoration outweighed the drawbacks. The greatest benefits observed were increased water and forage availability for livestock.
  2. Ranchers used a variety of grazing management strategies that were compatible with beaver-related restoration.
  3. People who installed artificial beaver dams considered the regulatory process to be the biggest barrier to project implementation. Successful implementation involved collaboration among ranchers, scientists, practitioners, and regulatory agencies.

Montana Drought Vulnerability

Montana is one of only two states with very high vulnerability to drought, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System's (NIDIS) recently released national assessment. The assessment uses research funded by the National Science Foundation and the NOAA Climate Program Office to calculate states' vulnerability based on their populations' susceptibility to harm, their ability to cope with hazards, and physical water scarcity. The study provides insights to help planners "effectively distribute funds and plan accordingly in order to reduce state-level drought vulnerability today and in the future."
Reducing Wildfire Risk
Check out this short video on ways to mitigate wildfire risk in the West, produced by Headwaters Economics. Headwaters Economics provides free assistance to communities coping with wildfire risk through its Community Assistance for Wildfire program, outlined at the end of the two-minute video.

Resource Highlight

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) and U.S. Forest Service have created a quick overview of ways utilities can work together with the Forest Service. You can find the overview on the source water protection resources page.
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The Montana Watershed Coordination Council · 332 Fuller Avenue, Helena, MT, United States · Helena, Mt 59601 · USA

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