See Other Values —Clean water is just one of the values land conservation protects in perpetuity. See how our work protects other popular values:
Western Montana would be a much different place without Rock Creek, the Blackfoot, the Bitterroot, the Clark Fork, Georgetown Lake and the hundreds of streams and springs that feed them. At Five Valleys Land Trust, we’ve worked for decades identifying and protecting the core areas up and down these river valleys. Why? Because intact landscapes — from lush river corridors to native wetlands to meandering meadow steams purify water and keep it cool.Become a Member
To date, we’ve protected some 6,000 miles of rivers and streams by protecting land through conservation easements. Without our members, that number would be zero.
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Through our Hands on the Land stewardship projects we directly improved more than 150 miles of streams. These are fun, family-friendly events that help perpetuate clean water.
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How land protection protects water:
Native cutthroat trout dart in and out of the shadows in tiny creeks high in the mountains of western Montana. A bald eagle perches on the heavy limb of a regal old cottonwood, surveying the sparkling ribbon of the Clark Fork River. A rancher opens a head gate releasing a rush of cold water to irrigate a bottomland hayfield. A fly caster gracefully delivers a delicate insect imitation to a feeding trout on the Big Blackfoot River.
Clean, cold water tumbles in snow-fed rivulets from the high country to become the great rivers of western Montana , sustaining farms, ranches, communities, and the natural abundance of this magnificent landscape. More precious than gold, always, at the center of things, moving water traces our history and connects us with our future and with the land itself.
Montanans know that the care we take with that water defines the future. To protect water, we must protect the land through which it flows, the narrow stream corridors, the wide valleys with their rich soils, and the lush riparian vegetation from which so much life springs. At Five Valleys Land Trust, water is always on our minds and protecting or improving water quality, fisheries, and riparian habitats are top priority.
In the Rock Creek watershed, home to western Montana’s only Blue Ribbon trout fishery, Five Valleys has been working to protect water for nearly two decades, first in partnership with the Rock Creek Trust, eventually merging those efforts. We have worked with private landowners, agency partners, and other groups to protect more than 10,000 acres along Rock Creek through conservation easements or public acquisitions, always with a primary focus on water quality, critical habitat, and the health and vitality of the stream.
Watershed protection and restoration is always a focus for Five Valleys, but several projects provide remarkable examples of this work, including:
Cedar Creek Acquisition in Mineral County
Rattlesnake Greenway in Missoula County
The Alberton Gorge