Closing Date: November 30, 2016

The Blackfoot Community Conservation Area (BCCA) Council is responsible for managing, on behalf of the community, the 5,609-acre Core area of the BCCA. To represent the diversity of community interests, the Council is comprised of 15 people, five each from three different categories, including:

1)      Private Landowners,
2)      Agencies and Organizations owning land within or adjacent to the Core (The US Fish & Wildlife Service, the US Forest Service, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and The Nature Conservancy), and
3)      User Groups (recreationists, sportsmen and women, businesses and educational representatives).

The Council is currently seeking applicants to fill three-year term positions, beginning January 1, 2017 and terminating December 31, 2019. The Council will review applications at the meeting in December, develop recommendations for Council membership and submit those recommendations to the Blackfoot Challenge Board of Directors for final approval.

Selection is based on three criteria:

1)      The individual’s ability to be an active participant for their term of appointment,
2)      The individual’s willingness to work positively and cooperatively to reach management decisions that best meet the goals of the BCCA, and
3)      Diversity of representation.

The position requires two to five hours per month to attend Council meetings and/or Work Groups, including Forestry, Grazing/Weeds, and Recreation/Education/Wildlife. Council members may choose a Work Group of their interest and are expected to attend meetings on a regular basis, participate in the discussion, be able to listen to opposing points of view, and make decisions that are in the best interest of the valley at large.

To apply for a position on the Council, please respond to the following questions:

  1. Why do you want to serve on the BCCA Council?
  2. What qualifications do you bring?
  3. Which category or categories would you best represent?
  4. Do you have any scheduling constraints? (Monthly Council meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month at the Ovando Fire Hall at 7:00 p.m. Please let us know if you are able to attend the meetings on a regular basis or which, if any, you may need to miss.)

Please respond by mailing or emailing your application to:
Blackfoot Challenge
c/o BCCA Council
PO Box 103
Ovando, MT  59854

Thank you for volunteering to participate in this exciting project of community involvement and service. We continue to break new ground and look forward to your help. For more information on the BCCA, see www.blackfoochallenge.org or contact Council Chair Ben Slaght at bwslaght@gmail.com or 793-0057.

What is the BCCA?

The Blackfoot Community Conservation Area (BCCA) is an innovative effort involving community forest ownership and cooperative ecosystem management across public and private lands in the heart of the 1.5 million acre Blackfoot watershed.  Located at the southern end of the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem, the BCCA borders the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wilderness areas and encompasses an important transition zone between wilderness, national forest and productive valley bottoms, with lush riparian and wetland areas and important wildlife habitat.  Historic uses of the area include livestock grazing, timber harvest, and recreational activities including hunting, trapping, horseback riding, hiking, snowmobiling and skiing.

The BCCA project involves two distinct phases.  The first phase involves local ownership and management of 5,609.37 acres of former Plum Creek Timber Company lands that were transferred from The Nature Conservancy to the Blackfoot Challenge in 2008, also referred to as the BCCA Core.  The second phase involves joint management of the Core with the larger BCCA itself—the surrounding public and private lands that comprise a 41,000-acre multiple-use demonstration area for the watershed.  It is a pilot for innovative access, land stewardship and restoration practices.  Land owners in this larger BCCA include the USFS-Lolo National Forest, MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and a number of private landowners.

The BCCA Core is managed and administered by the BCCA Council—a committee of the Blackfoot Challenge—consisting of fifteen members representing agencies owning land within or adjacent to the Core, private landowners, recreational user groups, local businesses and/or commercial outfitters.

Current projects include:

-          Forest restoration and fuel reduction to increase forest health, reduce wildfire risk and improve wildlife habitat.
-          Ongoing noxious weed treatments along right-of-ways and in parks using a mix of chemical treatments and biocontrols (bugs).
-          Motorized use with permit in allowed areas during 6 weeks in summer; snowmobile use in allowed areas during the winter.
-          Livestock grazing in four leased pastures throughout the spring, summer and fall.
-          In cooperation with MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks, public hunting access on the Ovando Mountain Block Management Area.
-          Stream and forest monitoring with local elementary schools.
-          Firewood and Christmas tree harvest permitting.
-          Park closures during elk calving.
-          Ongoing road maintenance.