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University of Idaho

Water Resource Management in the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem

and the Emergence of Watershed Partnerships:
Grant Application to WaterSMART: Cooperative Watershed Management Program

Brooke Stallings
12 May 2014
Water conservation is critical to the wellbeing of humanity and the world in which we live. The
problem to be addressed is the improper management of water resources, exacerbated by the
effects of climate change and a rapidly increasing population. The Crown of the Continent
Ecosystem (CCE) of northwest Montana faces this same major challenge, with much added
responsibility because of its unique location; pollution in the waters of the CCE spreads
contamination to the ecosystems of a number of surrounding states. Therefore, conserving the
water resources of the CCE is critical at local, state, and continental levels. Landowners in this
region need to be made aware of the water crisis and of their importance as stakeholders within
their watershed. The objective is to establish a local, multi-agency watershed partnership. This
proposal concerns the establishment of the watershed partnership and the development of a
public education campaign that will use community outreach as well as mass media to provide
community members with information about the issue. The resulting heightened awareness will,
in turn, increase participation in the newly-established watershed partnership, whose purpose is
to provide education about watershed health, foster dialogue about water policy, promote the
sustainable use of water resources, and ultimately improve the quality of the Flathead River

The United States is facing an ever-expanding water crisis, and the problem is two-fold
encompassing a decrease in both the quantity and the quality of a precious natural resource. The
implications of continued mismanagement are severe economic and social stresses, as well
as potentially overwhelming ecological threats. The rapidly increasing U.S. population alone is
cause for urgent action; combined with climate change, it is guaranteed to exacerbate water
resource problems in the future.
The region of northwest Montana has much significance because citizens living downstream are
affected by the management of water quality and quantity in this region. In particular, the rapid
growth in many communities within Flathead County is resulting in the conversion of
agricultural and forest lands to residential and commercial use, thereby negatively impacting the
environment through overuse and degradation of these natural resources.
The exploitation of common-pool resources provided by watersheds and their associated
ecosystems is a problem that has a multitude of causes. First and foremost, climate change is
altering the world, affecting water resource availability and resulting in an increasing demand for
water while supplies are shrinking. Another important cause of the mismanagement of water
is the fact that watersheds do not correspond to political boundaries, as watersheds cross
country, state, county, and city boundaries defining an area by its natural features as opposed to
political elements (Curtis, 2010, p. 2). Because of this disconnect between natural and manmade
boundaries, watersheds are divided into many private and public land sectors. As a result, a
single watershed may have many different land management practices occurring within it, some
of which may be ecologically-minded and some of which may be harmful to the environment.
The additive effects of continued individual actions and decisions can be very harmful to
ecosystems. Watershed management planning must be conducted within a broader framework of
land and resource management, thereby managing resources for the benefit of the American
people while ensuring the productivity of the land and the protection of the environment (Curtis,
2010, p. 183).

Use of Funding
Funding for this project will primarily be allocated to the establishment of the watershed
partnership. This endeavor requires funds for forming a non-profit organization, hiring a
watershed coordinator, and developing and implementing a mission statement and a restoration
Additional funding will be used to produce and disseminate public relations materials to the
citizens of Flathead County to raise their awareness of the water crisis and the critical role they
play in water conservation. In an effort to inspire members of the community to take ownership
and become involved, information will be provided at town meetings, and flyers will be
produced for distribution at local events. In addition to community outreach, mass media will
play an essential role in the education campaign. Traditional forms of media such as television,
print media, and internet will be utilized.
Objectives and Activities
This campaign of public education and watershed partnership establishment seeks to protect and
improve the health of the Flathead River watershed, the dominant watershed in Flathead County,
Montana. The Flathead River watershed is a major part of the Clark Fork watershed, which is
just one segment of the even larger Columbia River watershed (Regional water resources).
Given the history of agriculture and cattle-grazing in this region, the large amount of private land
owned by agricultural producers, and the knowledge that extensive cattle grazing and
agricultural production cause significant degradation to watersheds, farmers and ranchers are the
primary population to target with information on water resource management and protection.
This group, along with all other community members, will be encouraged to join and become
active participants in the local watershed partnership, which will continually promote the
sustainable use of water resources in the Flathead River watershed and advocate for the
improvement of the condition of its rivers and streams. By better understanding present
conditions within the watershed, the partnership can effectively guide future decisions and
develop solutions to existing and potential threats to water quality and supplies, while enhancing
overall watershed health.
One task of this project is to collect and analyze existing local information, which will be used to
develop a watershed assessment that evaluates current conditions. Using this knowledge, the
partnership will work with stakeholders to identify restoration projects and activities that address
key issues.
Once formed, the partnership will need to raise community awareness and increase voluntary
participation in conservation and restoration activities. The educational portion of this campaign
will be conducted primarily through the use of a series of public service announcements (PSAs)
delivered through broadcast television. The PSAs will be distributed to local television affiliates
of the broadcasting companies ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC throughout northwest Montana. In
addition, press releases will be sent to several local newspapers and a few magazines that would
be likely to reach a large audience. Also, the watershed partnership will create an informational
website that is tied to the PSAs and newspaper/magazine press releases and will be a good
resource to provide more information about the campaign. The new webpage will also provide
links to other sites that deliver information about watershed conservation.
Another important function of the website will be to provide information on available financial
incentive programs that promote sustainable practices. It will, for example, encourage
landowners to take advantage of the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) a
component of the Farm Bill that provides technical and financial incentives to private
landowners for implementing conservation practices on agricultural lands. This program offers
reimbursement payments for a variety of conservation practices including but not limited to
irrigation efficiency, grazing management, forest health and wildfire protection, etc. (EQIP
Outcomes and Benefits
The formation of a watershed partnership has both environmental and economic benefits; a
successful partnership can yield impressive results. For example, the Blackfoot Challenge
Project, a community-based partnership of the Blackfoot River Valley of western Montana, has
restored and enhanced habitat in more than 2,600 acres of wetlands, 2,300 acres of native
grasslands, and restored 39 tributaries including 38 miles of instream and 62 miles of riparian
restoration. Additionally, nearly 89,000 acres of private land have been protected with perpetual
conservation easements (Blackfoot Challenge).
Watershed partnerships have the ability to address problems that are beyond the scope of
centralized regulation, such as habitat and nonpoint source pollution (Lubell et al., 2002, p. 149).
In terms of economic interests, these collaborations allow for the adoption of flexible policy
tools for addressing environmental impacts in a cost-effective manner while reducing the threat
of ever more stringent regulatory policies (p. 149). Participating in a collaborative group and
developing solutions to water resource issues will allow participants to avoid the even higher
costs and economic uncertainties generated by conflict in regulatory agencies, the courts, and the
federal/state legislative processes (p. 152). The watershed partnership approach allows groups
to pursue solutions to an interrelated set of social, economic, and environmental problems by
considering the watershed as a whole.
The establishment of, and increased participation in, the watershed partnership will create a
natural platform for continued dialogue concerning watershed health between land managers and
the residents of the watershed. The fostering of this dialogue should lead to an increased
cognizance among landowners of best land management practices thatare environmentally-
conscious andthat will increase overall watershed health. The resulting participation and actions
will begin to effect an improvement in water quality in the local watershed. By identifying the
concerns of all stakeholders, educating those involved, and encouraging them to take appropriate
action, these collaborations often produce mutually beneficial solutions to resource conflict
issues that stem from multiple-use management. Through their involvement, citizens can help
secure water supplies for present and future generations while benefiting both the economy and
the environment.

Blackfoot Challenge: Who are we. (n.d.). Blackfoot Challenge. Retrieved from
Curtis, L. S. (2010). Flathead watershed sourcebook: A guide to an extraordinary place.
Kalispell, MT: Lori S. Curtis.
EQIP Info. (n.d.). Blackfoot Challenge. Retrieved from
Lubell, M., Schneider, M., Scholz, J., & Mete, M. (2002). Watershed partnerships and the
emergence of collective action institutions. American Journal of Political Science, 46 (1),
148-163. Retrieved from
Regional water resources. (n.d.). Flathead Conservation District. Retrieved from


Component Cost Total Cost
Filing for non-profit status $500 $500
Salary for watershed coordinator $40,000 per year for 2 years $80,000
Office expenses $500 per year for 2 years $1,000
Planning and implementation of
organizational objectives
$5,000 per year for 2 years $10,000
Watershed Partnership Establishment: $91,500
Production of PSA for television $2500 $2500
Script-writer for PSA $50 per hour for 10 hours $500
Spokesperson for PSA $40 per hour for 5 hours $200
Airtime for PSA Complimentary on local television stations n/a
Cost to mail media kit of PSA to local
television stations
$15 per station for 6 stations $90
PSA for local television news stations: $3,290
Development of press releases $750 $750
Cost to email press releases n/a n/a
Press releases for local newspapers and magazines: $750
Web designer $1500 $1,500
Purchasing domain name $100 $100
Annual renewal of domain name $50 per year for 1 year $50
Website maintenance $200 per year for 2 years $400
Development and management of website: $2,050
Cost to host booth at community events $10-20 per event $200
Creation of flyers (approx. 1,000) $150 $150
Community events: $350
Incidentals $560
Total: $98,500



Professional Science Masters Degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science,
Ecohydrological Science and Management, December 2015 (expected)
University of Idaho, Moscow, ID

Bachelor of Science, Biology; Environmental Studies Concentration, May 2011
Furman University, Greenville, SC
Major GPA: 3.59 ; Cumulative GPA: 3.47

Cum laude graduate, Deans List, Elizabeth Thackston Taylor Botany Medal

Pertinent Coursework:
Field botany, Plant physiology, Watershed hydrology, Applied plant science,
Tropical ecology (Costa Rica), African ecology (South Africa),
Research & analysis, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Economics of the environment,
Physics, Statistics, Communication for Science Professionals

Additional Training:
Seed Collection for Restoration and Conservation (SOS) - Denver, CO
National Invasive Species Information Management System training (NISIMS) - Reno, NV
Ecologically-based Invasive Plant Management training (EBIPM) - Reno, NV
Plants of Wetland & Riparian Habitats of the Rocky Mountains, weeklong course - Fort Collins, CO
Grass Identification course (Arnold Tiehm) - University of Nevada, Reno, NV
Nevada Rare Plant Workshop - NV Native Plant Society & NV Natural Heritage Program, Las
Vegas, NV
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) training, Modules 1&2 - DOI Learn

The Nature Conservancy, member
Montana Native Plant Society, member, Clark Fork and Flathead Chapters
Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, member

Proficient in the use of Microsoft Word, Excel, GIS, Arc Map
Trained in GPS mapping/orienteering, compass orienteering, use of topography maps
Proficient in the use of vascular plant dichotomous keys for identification of flora of eastern and
western US
Experienced in field data collection using transects and other various measurement methods
Performed forest inventory using diameter tape, Cruisers crutch, clinometer, range finder, increment
Trained in classification of streams based on the Rosgen stream classification system
Experienced in wildlife monitoring: camera trap surveys, hair snag stations
Experienced in fish sampling by backpack electroshocking

Resource Aide/Technician, Forestoration Inc., Whitefish, MT March 2013 Nov. 2013
Performed revegetation and restoration through bio-engineering and use of native plants to control
stream bank erosion; construction of fascines, installation of coir logs along a river bank, and
planting of willows and sedges at disturbed BNSF cleanup sites along the Whitefish River
Assisted with both habitat enhancement projects and fire hazard reduction projects through
forestry work
Assisted with landscaping projects for private landowners and local city park; planting and
Assisted in the construction of low-impact nature trails
Performed noxious weed control work on private lands, using both manual and chemical treatment
Performed horticultural tasks in companys native plant nursery; propagated willow cuttings for
Staffed local farmers market booth, selling native plants and answering questions on botanical
Sold native plants at Montana Native Plant Society event focusing on native plant landscaping

Intern, Conservation and Land Management Program, Bureau of Land Management, Carson
City, NV Feb.- Oct. 2012
Prepared drafts of conservation plans for NV rare plant species
Performed data entry and analysis for FWS candidate species (Eriogonum diatomaceum)
Conducted rare plant surveys of Eriogonum diatomaceum, Ivesia webberi, Polyctenium williamsiae, Ivesia
Assisted with compliance checks for mining and NDOT bridge construction
Conducted environmental rehabilitation of disturbed wetland sites to reduce erosion
Assisted with fire severity mapping; monitored revegetation sites post-fire as required by ESR
protocol (Emergency Stabilization & Rehabilitation); wrote reports to summarize results of studies
Performed site evaluations, identified non-native weeds, and mapped infestations
Instructed team members on plant identification and proper seed collection techniques
Collected seed of native species for long-term storage and rehabilitation by Seeds of Success
Assisted with ongoing range monitoring of natural spring sites; collected data and evaluated photo
plot conditions compared to previous documentation

Intern, Conservation and Land Management Program, Bureau of Land Management, Miles
City, MT May- Oct. 2011
Coordinated with biologists to compile list of target species for collection, including species useful
for reclamation purposes and for Seeds of Success program
Gathered data with GPS, marking locations of species populations which were collected
Conducted sensitive plant survey of Vishers buckwheat (Eriogonum visheri)
Established Miles City Field Office herbarium; collected, mounted and labeled specimens
Compiled in spreadsheet the data recorded during field reconnaissance; managed GIS data,
including locations found and species present at sites

Intern, Northwest Connections, Swan Valley, MT June-Aug. 2010
Attended training and collected data for US Geological Survey Grizzly Bear DNA Project for
research monitoring populations and movement
Monitored streams in Cold Creek watershed using stream-shocking to collect data for US Forest
Monitored invasive weeds within various experimental US Forest Service logging units
Helped teach and supervise high school student participants in weeklong residential Wildlands
Volunteer Corps program and middle school girls in GUTS! (Girls Using Their Strengths) program

Intern, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Clemson, SC Nov.- Dec. 2009
Worked at Heritage Preserve sites with invasive species, erosion control, bog restoration, bat
hibernacula survey
Prepared and applied herbicides with hand-held sprayers and tree injectors, and used mechanical
treatments to control non-native plant species

Landscape and Livelihood Field Semester, Northwest Connections, Swan Valley, MT
Aug.- Oct. 2009
Took courses accredited through the University of Montana in Watershed Dynamics, Forests and
Communities, Biogeography of Northwestern Montana, and Field Skills for Conservation Work
Participated in nine-day backpacking trip through the Bob Marshall Wilderness
Conducted and presented independent research on invasive reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea)


National Public Lands Day, Carson City, NV Sept. 2012
Instructed volunteers on Seeds of Success program and led seed collection
Sand Mountain BLM Recreation area, Fallon, NV May and Sept. 2012
Staffed educational booth for the public during Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends
Truckee River Environmental Education (TREE), Reno, NV May 2012
Staffed ecology learning stations for youth education initiative, in conjunction with The Nature
Earth Day events, Reno and Fallon, NV April 2012
Staffed educational booth to encourage the responsible use of public lands
Swan Valley Bear Fair, Condon, MT July 2010
Helped organize and present community education program


Furman in the Garden (FIG) Member, elected officer 2007-2011
Worked in on-campus greenhouse and garden at Southern Living Magazines LEED-certified Cliffs
Helped organize and staff annual plant sale
Presented educational program on plants for first-graders; helped with planting of garden at Sterling
ECOS (Environmental Community of Students) Academic year 2007-2008
Prepared and distributed brochure on campus sustainability; coordinated on-campus recycling efforts;
wrote proposal for grant money to bring native Tanzanian environmental speaker to campus

WaterSMART: Cooperative Watershed Management Program Funding Opportunity
Announcement (FOA)
Link to FOA