The Blackfoot Challenge is excited to announce the completion of the Blackfoot Watershed Stewardship Guide, a 36-page handbook full of information and resources on land and water stewardship for Blackfoot residents. In drawing upon both the generations of stewardship wisdom from those who live and work in the Blackfoot as well the latest scientific research and information, we hope this Guide serves as a useful, informative, and fun resource for residents as they navigate stewarding the rich and diverse resources that define our watershed.  

In seven sections, the Guide addresses common questions about Water Rights and Conservation, Streams and Wetlands, Wildlife, Forestry, Grazing and Soil Health, Native and Invasive Plants, and Land Conservation. Each section also includes Frequently Asked Questions, specific resource recommendations, and contact information for Blackfoot Challenge staff who are available to answer questions and provide additional information and resources.  

blackfoot watershed stewardship guide resource book front cover
Front cover of the Guide featuring a watercolor painting of the Blackfoot River by Angela Bennett.

Elaine Caton, Education Coordinator for the Blackfoot Challenge and Ovando resident, spearheaded the effort, working with other Blackfoot Challenge staff to assemble information from across the organization’s stewardship programs. 

“For many years we’ve discussed the need for a go-to resource that collects stewardship best practices. Originally we envisioned a sort of “welcome wagon packet” for new residents to learn about the place where they had moved. And while that is still an important goal of this Guide, we realized that the best stewardship evolves over time as wisdom and skill are combined with new ideas. So we hope it will be a source of helpful information for long-time watershed residents as well,” says Elaine.

Mary McFadzen, Science Communications Specialist for the Montana Institute on Ecosystems and the US Fish & Wildlife Service, lent her design  expertise to the creation of the Guide, and her thoughtful choices regarding layout, colors, and small details are evident throughout. 

“It’s rewarding to be a part of this project because it gives landowners a product that is engaging and super helpful to guide decision making. And as a long-time Montana resident and biologist, I really value collaborative approaches to working with landowners for the greater good of our communities,” says Mary. 

In addition to photos, maps, quotes, and carefully-created infographics to convey stewardship information, each section also features the work of a local artist. Each one of these artists graciously donated the use of their artwork for this guide. The final page features an “Artists Gallery” where readers will find a listing of website and contact information to explore the work of each artist further. 

As Blackfoot Challenge Board Chair Jim Stone states in the introduction, the Guide is the beginning of a conversation. The organization hopes the information compiled in the Guide answers some questions and also piques others, facilitating connections between the many stewards living and working in the Blackfoot watershed.

By neighboring up, we can continue to share our collective knowledge and understanding, for the good of our own properties as well as for this larger landscape we all call home. 

Prefer a hard copy? Copies are free for all residents. Just shoot a note to or call our office at 793-3900 and we’ll mail you one!