2021 Watershed and Wetland Stewardship Award Recipients Announced
Ksik Stakii Project, Blackfeet Nation
Jeff Ryan, Lewis & Clark Conservation District
Heather Mullee Barber, Bitter Root Water Forum
Loren Ruport, USFWS Partners Program
HELENA, MT, May 13 – A partnership centering traditional ecological knowledge and cultural practices to return beavers to Blackfeet lands. A lifelong teacher and advocate for stream restoration in Lewis & Clark County and across the state. A collaborative leader who has spent the past 10 years building a resilient, collaborative watershed organization in the Bitterroot. A biologist who has restored and protected tens of thousands of acres of prairie wetlands and grasslands across north-central and northeastern Montana.
These are the winners of the 2021 Wetland and Watershed Stewardship Awards, representing a diverse array of locally driven, cooperative conservation efforts across Montana. The biennial awards are a joint project of the Montana Wetland Council (MWC) and the Montana Watershed Coordination Council (MWCC) to honor individuals and groups who embody excellence and commitment to wetland or watershed conservation, protection, and restoration.
The Wetland Stewardship Award recipient is Loren Ruport with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Malta. The Watershed Stewardship Award recipients are the Blackfeet Nation’s Ksik Stakii (Beaver) Project, Jeff Ryan with the Lewis & Clark County Conservation District, and Heather Mullee Barber with the Bitter Root Water Forum.
“The 2021 Wetland and Watershed Stewardship Award recipients exemplify the kind of conservation that supports Montana’s landscapes and livelihoods,” said Ethan Kunard, Executive Director of MWCC. “Their leadership and dedication have resulted in successful partnerships that protect treasured land and water resources statewide.”
Award recipients will be honored at a ceremony during the Fall Watershed Tour to be co-hosted by MWCC and local conservation partners September 15-17, 2021, along the Rocky Mountain Front.
The Montana Wetland Council is a cooperative network of diverse interests working to increase the quality and quantity of wetlands in Montana. Council participants work individually and collaboratively to accomplish its strategic goals to prevent loss of wetlands while addressing the often-complex issues surrounding wetlands and riparian areas.
The Montana Watershed Coordination Council works to unite and support Montana’s community-based conservation networks to promote healthy and productive watersheds. MWCC provides resources and support to conservation partnerships across the state to improve Montana’s landscapes and livelihoods.
The 2021 Wetland and Watershed Stewardship Awards are made possible by funding from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.