Ranching for Rivers provides cost-share to ranchers for developing riparian pastures and fencing

The Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana (SWCDM) and the Missouri River Conservation Districts Council (MRCDC) have just announced another round of funding for Ranching for Rivers, a cost-share program to help ranchers with riparian pasture/fencing projects. This current round of funding is targeted to landowners along streams or rivers included in DEQ-approved Watershed Restoration Plans. Many streams within the Green Mountain Conservation District are covered under the Lower Clark Fork Tributary Watershed Restoration Plan.

The purpose of the program is to provide landowners throughout the state with the needed resources to voluntarily construct fences and/or other infrastructure (crossings, water gaps, offsite water, etc.) that enable them to better manage the riparian resources on their land. This program promotes the use of “riparian pastures” as an alternative to complete exclusion of the riparian area to livestock. A riparian pasture is a relatively small pasture that can still be grazed for a portion of the year. Operation benefits of riparian pastures include improved management flexibility, the ability to use livestock grazing to manage weeds and overgrown vegetation, increased usage of upland range habitat, and decreased maintenance costs of fencing and off-stream water resources. Natural resource benefits include improved riparian and vegetation habitat, improved water quality and quantity, improved wildlife and fishery habitat, and improved access for wildlife to stream areas. Approximately $70,000 in cost-share is available for landowners to construct riparian pastures to benefit their operation and its natural resources. The cost-share is designed to cover up to 50% of the cost of fence, other riparian pasture-related infrastructure, and construction costs. Landowners do not have to financially qualify for the assistance. This round of funding includes a technical grazing management component, providing participating landowners with a range specialist to develop customized grazing plans for the new riparian pasture.

Ranching For Rivers – Video

Uploaded by Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana on 2016-11-21.

The first round of applications will be available on March 20, 2018 and will be due to SWCDM by 5 PM on June 15, 2018. Late applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and considered for the next call for applications review period (Fall 2018).

For more information on this program, contact Rachel Frost (mrcdc@macdnet.org; 406-454-0056) or Jessica Makus (jessica@macdnet.org; 406-443-5711).

Please submit completed applications to: Jessica Makus at jessica@macdnet.org; or mail to SWCDM – Ranching for Rivers, 1101 11th Ave, Helena, MT 59601

Ranching for Rivers Application 2018