MWCC Impacts: Watershed Fund Big Sky Watershed Corps Support
The MWCC Watershed Fund is helping improve water quality and reduce nonpoint source (NPS) pollution in watersheds across Montana by supporting Big Sky Watershed Corps (BSWC) members’ work on these issues. In 2020 and 2021, Watershed Fund Big Sky Watershed Corps Support provided more than $130,000 in grants to local watershed conservation organizations to:
- Increase their capacity to implement Watershed Restoration Plans (WRPs) accepted by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality by providing cost share support for hosting a BSWC member to help implement WRPs and reduce NPS pollution
- Attend relevant professional development training opportunities
- Support BSWC member-led, on-the-ground projects that reduce or prevent nonpoint source pollution.
BSWC Project Support funding allows BSWC members to carry out small-scale projects that have a measurable impact, such as riparian revegetation and low-tech restoration. In most cases, it is the members’ first time writing, managing, and reporting on a grant, so the funding also helps with members’ professional development. In 2021, the Watershed Fund supported six BSWC member-led projects, including:
- Low-tech, process-based restoration of California Creek, a tributary of the Ruby Watershed, to reduce erosion and stream degradation caused by historic mining practices. BSWC member London Bernier completed this project for the Ruby Valley Conservation District and Ruby Watershed Council
- Revegetation of the construction area for a fish screen in Lolo Creek. BSWC member Maeve Holman completed this project for the Lolo Watershed Group.
- Fencing maintenance, cattle crossing fortifications, and revegetation of a site along the North Burnt Fork Creek, a tributary of the Bitteroot River. BSWC member Ellie DeVos completed this project for the Bitter Root Water Forum.
These projects were made possible by funding from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We thank Montana DEQ for their support of the BSWC program since 2015.