The Green Mountain Conservation District (GMCD) was organized on November 4, 1941 and is one of 58 conservation districts in Montana. Its mission is:
to protect and enhance the natural resources of the district and to educate the public about natural resource concerns.
A non-paid elected and appointed board of supervisors governs district activities. GMCD operations are partially funded by a 1.5 mill tax on county property, with the balance paid through grants from State and Federal resources.
State Conservation Districts began forming at the request of President Roosevelt in 1937 after Congress unanimously declared soil and water conservation a national policy priority. The 1930’s were shaped by the financial disaster of the Great Depression along with the ecological disaster of the Dust Bowl. Sustained drought across the Great Plains coupled with the prevailing farming and ranching practices of the time damaged the topsoil across the region. Sustained winds produced dust storms that could engulf towns and cities. In response, the government established programs aimed at conserving the soil and preventing future disasters.
The main function of GMCD is to promote conservation of natural resources. The primary activity of the board is to administer Montana’s Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act, also known as the “310 Law.” It is a state law which requires that any person planning to work on or near a perennial stream or river on private or public land must first obtain a 310 Permit from the local conservation district.
The purpose of the 310 Law is to ensure that projects will be carried out in ways that are not damaging to the stream or to adjoining landowners. Find out more about stream permitting here.
Beyond 310 permitting activities, the GMCD promotes conservation education for all ages and works to empower landowners to engage in soil and water conservation practices on their property. Examples of Green Mountains Conservation District’s programs include:
- Water Festival, a field trip for Sanders County fifth graders organized by the Green Mountain and Eastern Sanders County Conservation District each fall
- Sanders County Pollinator Initiative
- No-till drill rental
- Watershed restoration projects
GMCD partners with many organizations in the county and state that work to conserve Montana’s natural resources.