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Montana Watershed Coordination Council | P.O. Box 1416 Helena, MT 59624 | info@mtwatersheds.orgClick Here to Sign-up for our Watershed Newsletter

Capacity Support: Connecting with Conservation Goals in the Lolo Watershed

Landowner Kim Greneger watering in newly planted trees and shrubs during a volunteer planting day along John’s Creek. 14 volunteers came that day.

The Lolo Watershed Group (LWG) was started in 2003 and has always done great work in their watershed with the commitment of their volunteer board. However, the organization needed someone to connect with landowners, state agencies, and other local partners to get more done on the ground. With the help of MWCC Watershed Fund Capacity Support and a DNRC Watershed Management Grant, LWG hired a paid coordinator, Heather Brighton, who has allowed them to carry out their community conservation goals! Heather has successfully applied for grants, attended conservation district meetings, connected with at least 30 landowners, and worked with Big Sky Watershed Corps members to help with their capacity for field work.

  • 100 stakeholders engaged, including landowners, volunteers, K-12 students, teachers, community members, conservation districts, local watershed groups, nonprofits, municipal governments, and state and federal government agencies. 
  • 4 conservation practices implemented
    • Forest stand improvement to achieve desired objective(s)
    • Soil health improvements
    • Wildlife management enhancements
    • Watershed resource education
  • 7 acres of forest and floodplain/riparian buffer made more resilient
  • 0.7 miles of stream improved
Future impacts on the Lolo Watershed and its communities:

The Lolo Watershed Group built the capacity to start applying for project grants that will allow them to implement necessary on the ground projects to improve watershed health. Having a dedicated point person for the Lolo Watershed Group will increase community engagement and interest in the watershed’s overall health. According to LWG’s Board President, Travis Ross: “Having a coordinator has allowed our group to be a resource to the Conservation District, landowners, etc. … We are excited that possibilities are unfolding both for funding and restoration projects.” 

Impact of the Watershed Fund:
  • Helped cultivate relationships with funders
    Abigail Toretsky, Big Sky Watershed Corps member, teaching Lolo kids about water quality and macroinvertebrates at Lolo Creek.
  • More project and program funding available
  • Greater public awareness of resource concerns and conservation
  • Improvements to the organization’s core competencies
  • Increased ability to complete projects that improve watershed resources
  • More effective communications within community and partners
  • Greater focus on high-impact conservation projects
  • Cultivation of more inclusive and diverse partnerships
  • Building long-term relationships and trust within the community
  • Greater ability to collaborate and reduced competition for resources
  • Stakeholder and community support for work has strengthened
  • Meaningful step(s) made toward a healthy and productive watershed