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Our River Steward Program helps landowners improve and restore habitat – wetlands, and riparian areas – along degraded streams and rivers in the Flathead Valley. These are key lands for maintaining clean water, fish and wildlife habitat,  and healthy stream bank.

Learn how landowners are making a difference

PLANTING BUFFERS FOR CLEAN WATER. Check out this video, featuring landowners Richard Siderius working with our Flathead River Steward Program partners to protect and restore his riparian area.

“The assistance we’ve received for planting riparian buffers helps protect this beautiful place on the river for future generations to enjoy”, said landowner Aileen Brosten.

Contact Franz Ingelfinger, Restoration Ecologist, at 751-4580, to learn more about the River Steward Program or to direct you to programs that can help you get started.

Why plant trees and shrubs along streams, rivers and lakes? Healthy riparian areas  provide habitat for fish and wildlife and protect clean water. Click here to read how riparian buffers add value to your property and benefit us all and Why we are Planting Trees.

Local expert help for restoring riparian buffers

Several local expert agencies are standing ready to help private landowners restore riparian areas

Flathead Conservation District

The Flathead Conservation District has a cost-share program to help landowners revegetate riparian areas. Contact Valerie Kurth, Resource Conservationist, at 752-4220.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks assists landowners with conservation and restoration of important habitat, such as streamside forests, wetlands, floodplains and adjacent uplands. Contact Franz Ingelfinger, Restoration Ecologist, at 751-4580.

Flathead Lakers

Flathead Lakers help bring landowners and programs together to efficiently match programs and resources, write grants to fund restoration, and recruit volunteers to make a difference for clean water in our Flathead Watershed.  The Lakers work with landowners both on the shores of Flathead Lake and in rivers and streams upstream of the lake. Contact Constanza von der Pahlen, CriticalLands Program Director, at 883-1341.

Ranching for Rivers Program

Ranching for Rivers is a cost-share program to help landowners along streams and rivers to build fences, stream crossings, and watering systems for livestock, improve grazing, and protect water quality. For more information or to apply, contact Jessica Makus, Program Manager, Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana, at 406-443-5711,, or visit their website at

Natural Resources Conservation Service

The NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) helps agricultural producers revegetate riparian areas on eligible lands. For more information contact Angel Rosario, NRCS District Conservationist, at 752-4242.

USDA Farm Service Agency

The Farm Service Agency Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) helps agricultural producers protect and restore riparian corridors by compensating farmers who do not farm these sensitive areas through rental payment and cost-share assistance. Contracts last 10 or 15 years. Contact John Nahrgang, County Executive Director, at 752-4220 or visit FSA online at

Being a Good Steward

Read what else you can do on your property to protect water quality and be a good steward of our land and water.

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