Watershed & Wetland Stewardship Awards

Since 1999, the Montana Watershed Coordination Council has been honoring individuals and groups providing innovative, locally led approaches to conserving, protecting, restoring and enhancing watersheds in Montana. Watershed Awardees inspire others to conserve, protect, restore and enhance Montana’s watersheds.


Eligible groups may include local watershed groups, resource management groups and other collaborative efforts that aim to improve, rehabilitate, or protect land and water resources in a watershed. Individuals may also be nominated. While it should be stressed that there is no single formula for success, the guidelines for the award include the following indicators of watershed stewardship: diverse, local and effective collaboration; demonstration of measured results; community outreach and education; and a holistic approach to watershed health.

A project does not have to be completed to be eligible – simply describe the process and accomplishments to date. Award recipients are not eligible for five years following recognition; see the following page for a list of previous recipients.


We will begin accepting nominations for 2021 Watershed Stewardship Awards in January 2021. More details to come.


The recipient will be announced in mid to late December and the award(s) will be presented at the Joint Montana Wetland and Watershed Awards Ceremony on January 28, 2019, location TBD, in Helena, Montana. MWCC Annual Meeting will be held on January 29th, 2019 at the Myrna Loy Performing Arts Center.


2019 Award Recipients:

  • Watershed Award: Jen Downing, Big Hole Watershed Committee
  • Watershed Award: Tom Henderson, Montana Department of Environmental Quality

2017 Award Recipients:

  • Watershed Award: Jeff Tiberi, Montana Association of Conservation Districts
  • Watershed Award: Broadwater Conservation District
  • Wetland Award: Larry Urban, Montana Department of Transportation
  • Wetland Award: Trust For Public Lands, Story Mill Creek Restoration Project

2015 Award Recipients:

  • Watershed Award: Kris Newgard, Kootenai National Forest Hydrologist, Three Rivers District
  • Watershed Award: Musselshell Water Coalition
  • Wetland Award: Wetland and Riparian Mapping Center, Montana Natural Heritage Program
  • Wetland Award: Montana Ducks Unlimited, Inc.

2013 Award Recipients:

  • Watershed Award: Adam Sigler, Montana State Extension: Water Quality
  • Watershed Award: Arctic Grayling CCAA Management Team
  • Wetland Award: Blackfoot Trumpeter Swan Swan Restoration Program
  • Wetland Award: Valley Garden Ranch, Madison County

2011 Award Recipients:

  • Watershed Group Award: Sweet Grass County Conservation District/Boulder River Watershed Association/Big Timber & Swamp Creek Watershed Group
  • Watershed Individual Award: Joel Chavez & Tim Reilly, DEQ Remediation Division, Silver Bow Creek Restoration
  • Wetland Award: Henry and Trish Gordon, Gordon Cattle Company
  • Wetland Award: Flathead River to Lake Initiative Partners

2009 Award Recipients:

  • Watershed Award: Yellowstone River Conservation District Council
  • Watershed Individual Award: Robert Ray
  • Wetland Award: Jim and Cindy Kittredge, Bird Creek Ranch and Tim Griffiths, NRCS Bozeman Area Biologist

2007 Award Recipients:

  • Watershed Award: The Flathead Lakers – Critical Lands Project
  • Wetland Award: Jim Stone of Rolling Stone Ranch, Gary Sullivan, USFWS and Dave Carr, TNC

2006 Watershed Award Recipients:

  • Watershed Award: Upper Clark Fork Basin Steering Committee
  • Watershed Individual Award: Alan Rollo

2005 Award Recipients:

  • Watershed Award: Kootenai River Network
  • Watershed Individual Award: Mike McLane

2002 Award Recipients:

  • Watershed Award: Bitter Root Water Forum
  • Wetland Award: Larry Weeks
  • Wetland Award: Gordon Stockstad

2001 Award Recipients:

  • Big Spring Watershed Partnership
  • Upper Shields Watershed Association
  • Big Blackfoot Chapter of Trout Unlimited / Blackfoot Challenge

2000 Watershed Stewardship Award Recipients:

  • Careless Creek Watershed
  • Green Mountain Conservation District
  • Sage Creek Watershed Alliance

2000 Wetland Stewardship Award Recipients:

  • Mary Bradshaw – H2-O Ranch, Helmville
  • Brian Maiorano – Missoula County Floodplain Administrator

1999 Watershed Stewardship Award Recipients:

  • Big Hole Watershed Committee
  • Sun River Watershed


Scroll to the bottom of the page for a downloadable copy of the form.

Watershed Stewardship Nominations Form 2019

  • Activities undertaken to solve identified problems resulted in documented improvements to watershed resources. Examples: directly improved water quality or quantity, enhanced aquatic or wildlife habitat, produced economic benefits, increased standard of living or quality of life, or any other natural resource and/or community benefits produced by the activities. For efforts not yet completed, describe issues and results obtained to date or planned. Suggestions: What problems or issues were identified by the stakeholders? What were the proposed solutions and how were they implemented? Describe the monitoring plan. How were improvements measured? Did evaluation of results change the implementation strategy? (2,500 characters or less)
  • All interested and affected parties were meaningfully involved in the process and took ownership and pride in the effort including landowners, agencies, conservation districts, and local groups. Effective collaboration skills could include listening to the concerns of various stakeholders and understanding and addressing the concerns in a manner that met the needs of everyone. The effort was successful at soliciting the financial and technical resources needed to accomplish goals. Suggestions: What measures were taken to involve the public in your process (word of mouth, surveys, scoping meetings, mailings, etc.)? How did the nominee generate and measure support for efforts? What type of process did you the nominee use to reach a decision (e.g., consensus, majority, etc.)? How did the nominee go about obtaining the technical and financial resources needed to further their effort?
  • Effective communication and education was important to the watershed stewardship effort. This may have involved communication and education of local stakeholders and others any time during the process. Outreach and education efforts could have included: field trips; educational tours and workshops; press releases; newsletters; informational presentations to local civic organizations; field training workshops; information maps; fact sheets and brochures; slide shows; etc. Suggestions: Describe how and why outreach and education was important to the watershed effort. What specific things did the group do for outreach? (Provide as much detail as possible regarding actions that were taken, outcomes obtained, and/or products produced and distributed.). What specific things did the group do for education? (Provide as much detail as possible regarding actions taken, outcomes obtained, and/or products produced and distributed.) What distinguished the project’s outreach and education effort as particularly exceptional or successful?
  • The effort generated a greater understanding of the integral components of the watershed and resulted in planning for those components critical to the health and function of the watershed. Application of the plan or strategy over time has or will result in conditions under which the needs of people and nature are met. Suggestions: Did the effort look at all resources critical to the stakeholders’ concerns? Was this an interdisciplinary approach? Were a variety of reasonable alternatives developed and considered for implementation? How did the identification and assessment of resource concerns proceed? Did assessment techniques, and/or treatment alternatives change or stay the same over time? Was the strategy successful in identifying and/or treating causes of the concern(s) as opposed to symptoms? Did the effort generate a better understanding of the integral components of the watershed and how they interact?
  • Please attach examples of products developed for the watershed effort, i.e., photos, brochures, newsletters, news articles, work plans or strategies, etc. You may attach as many documents as you wish. Digital copies are preferred.