Ranching for Rivers is a program designed to assist landowners with riparian pasture/fencing projects to help manage riparian land by offering a 50% cost-share for fencing material, off-site water infrastructure and developing grazing management plans. Riparian pastures are a great alternative to complete livestock exclusion and provide many operation benefits to the producer, while also enhancing and protecting the riparian resource.
Ranching for Rivers is offered through a partnership between MRCDC and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana (SWCDM). Landowners, Conservation Districts, and Watershed Groups who have projects located on waterbodies listed by DEQ as impaired by sediment, nutrients, E-coli, habitat alterations, or contributing such pollution to an impaired waterbody downstream are encouraged to apply for program funding. The list of impaired waterbodies can be found on: https://deq.mt.gov/Water/Resources/report. More information and application materials can be found below:
- Ranching for Rivers Overview & Information Packet
- Ranching for Rivers Project Application
- Ranching for Rivers Past Project Highlights
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis for 2021. Completed applications or questions should be submitted to email@example.com
Successes on the Missouri and Milk River
In early 2016, SWCDM partnered with the Missouri River Conservation Districts Council (MRCDC) to launch the Ranching for Rivers pilot program. Five projects were funded through this pilot program, which helped ranchers develop riparian pastures on their lands by providing 50% cost-share for riparian fencing and related infrastructure (water gaps, off-site tanks, etc) projects. Altogether, the program resulted in over 10 miles of riparian pasture/fencing projects on the Missouri and Milk Rivers. One of the program participants was Dick and Connie Iversen, Richland County ranchers near Culbertson. You can read more about how the project unfolded here.