The health of our land, water and natural resources depends on how we steward and care for them:
Rivers and Streams
Rivers, streams, wetlands and riparian (stream-side) areas are critical areas for conservation. In the Western United States, these areas (all defined by the presence of water) compose just 2 percent of the landscape; yet more than 80 percent of all wildlife species depend on the habitat that these areas provide (Hanson 1995). Not only that, water resources are critical for many human uses as well, such as drinking water, irrigation, and recreation. They certainly contribute to the aesthetic beauty of Sanders County also!
Many streams in our district are impaired from human land uses and past disturbances. Impairments include structural disturbances (such as dredging, draining, or the removal of vegetation) and excess pollutants (such as sediment, nutrients, or temperature). These impairments can impact aquatic life as well as human uses.
In some cases, large scale channel reconstruction and stream restoration projects are necessary to recover riparian areas. However, in most cases… the best things that we can do for streams are relatively simple:
- Maintain a “buffer” of natural vegetation along the border of streams and wetlands on your property.
- Do not mow or remove vegetation along streams or wetlands.
- Reduce or manage grazing along streams to reduce impacts of grazing on riparian vegetation and of hoof shear on stream banks.
- Plant native trees and shrubs.
The Green Mountain Conservation District partners with local landowners and numerous organizations to protect and restore water resources throughout western Sanders County – on both the mainstem Clark Fork River and its tributaries. If you are curious about how to care for the streams, wetlands and habitat on your land, contact us. We can connect you with our Agency & Organizational Partners and resources for conservation!
Approximately 1/3 of the food that we eat depends on pollination by insects (Lee-Mäder 2011). However, as humans have converted native landscapes and utilized an increasing amount of pesticides on croplands, important pollinator species have been impacted (both native species and managed honey bees). You can promote pollinators species (bees, butterflies, beetles and flies) in your yard by providing forage – flowering species that produce pollen throughout the growing season – as well as providing undisturbed bare soil (for nesting sites), cover, and reducing pesticide use.
The Green Mountain Conservation District is working with local landowners to promote pollinator habitat. Contact us for FREE SEED to grow your own pollinator garden!
A significant portion of Sanders County is forested. To maintain forest health, mitigate disease, and manage for preferred tree species… forests, too, require management. The Green Mountain Conservation District partners with the Natural Resource Conservation Service to support forest health practices in Sanders County. Contact us today for more information!
Other Natural Resource Concerns?
Do you have other natural resource concerns? The Green Mountain Conservation District partners with an array of organizations dedicated to the natural resources of Sanders County. Contact Us and we can connect you resources and partners who can help you achieve your conservation goals for your land!
Hansen, P. L. 1995. Classification and management of Montana’s riparian and wetland sites. Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, School of Forestry, The University of Montana.
Lee-Mäder, Eric. 2011. Attracting native pollinators: protecting North America’s bees and butterflies : the Xerces Society guide. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub.