The Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group (LCFWG) was formed as an nonprofit conservation organization in 2003 to serve for the existing watershed councils engaged in protecting the water resources of key tributaries to the lower Clark Fork River. The LCFWG continues to coordinate collaborative restoration efforts by connecting private and public interests throughout the watershed, and is one of many watershed groups throughout the state of Montana connected by our common "watershed approach" to conservation.
The Watershed Approach:
- Is tied to a distinct land area or hydrologic boundary
- Ensures broad stakeholder involvement and inclusivity
- Is community-based and community-driven
- Relies on local leadership
- Encourages collaboration with partners in the watershed
- Strives for consensus, and avoids litigation as a conservation strategy
Landowners and Watershed Councils
There are many agencies engaged in the protection and enhancement of water resources in the Lower Clark Fork. The Green Mountain Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the Forest Service (Kootenai and Lolo Nat
In 1999, Avista and many other parties signed the Clark Fork Settlement Agreement (CFSA) which is a part of Avista’s license to operate the Cabinet Gorge and Noxon Rapids Dams on the lower Clark Fork River. The CFSA sets a course for the protection, mitigation and enhancement of natural resources and is a huge driver of watershed restoration projects in the Lower Clark Fork Watershed. The Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group works under Avista’s Clark Fork Settlement Agreement to identity and coordinate projects within Avista’s project area, in partnership with Avista staff and other signers of the CFSA.
Additionally, NorthWestern Energy has a mitigation program associated with the Thompson Falls Dam, meant to conserve Bull Trout by improving fish passage and available habitat. In 2016, the Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group began working with Northwestern Energy to identify opportunities for restoration in the Thompson River.
Organization and Staff
The Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group is truly a collaborative group of people and organizations throughout the watershed all working on toward improved watershed health. The Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group is also a 501(c)3 nonprofit, with a board of directors and staff that help coordinate and support collaborative projects for and with partners throughout the watershed. For more on the structure of the Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group, as an organization, see our bylaws here: Bylaws
Brita Olson, Watershed Coordinator
Sarah Busmire, Watershed Technician
Daniel Holder, Big Sky Watershed Corps Member