Dear Friends of the Big Hole,

        I would like to share my change in plans with you, as I have decided to step down as Executive Director of the Big Hole Watershed Committee. 

        This decision initiates a planned change in leadership for the organization. I will stay in a continued limited capacity as a replacement is sought, which will likely take several months. I am committed to supporting the organization as new leadership is selected for a smooth transition.

        I am confident that the Big Hole Watershed Committee is set on a strong course for continued strong stewardship. I have been a part of the Big Hole for 14 years, with this organization for 8 ½, Executive Director for 6 1/2 years. In my years as Executive Director my top priority was to smooth out the boom and bust cycle so many small non-profits go through by strengthening the core organization to mirror the strength and importance of the mission. We turned our focus to holistic, long-standing restoration and conservation work. In that time, our staff has grown from 1 to 6. Our annual budget tripled. We’ve been able to bring almost $3 million into the watershed to invest in restoration and conservation work, 90% of which goes right into the ground and not consumed by overhead costs. Our staff is a smart, invested, and motivated bunch that creatively seeks opportunities to benefit the Big Hole River – and delivers time and time again. The Governing Board of 24 committed community members that support and lead conservation work by collectively insuring the mission and the work matches the needs of the river and the community. We’ve been quiet about it, but mostly because we are so darn busy getting the work done.

        My decision to depart is mine and mine alone. Drastic changes in personal circumstances have shown me this is the right time to give this opportunity to someone else.  I will treasure my time with the Big Hole Watershed Committee. I think I have gained more than I have given, but I gave it all I had. I believe deeply that holistic restoration and conservation is the absolute key to a healthy ecosystem, a healthy organization works in tandem to support this watershed, and a vibrant community ensures it stays that way. Cooperation, consensus, shared sacrifice I learned here and I will always have with me.

        It has been an honor supporting your interest in the Big Hole, learning from each of you, and providing a high standard of excellence for the Big Hole River.

        That said, we’ll have a job opening soon. We are in search of a new Executive Director – someone with the gumption for a rewarding career supporting the Big Hole River. Stand by for details.


Thank you,


Jennifer Downing

Executive Director, outgoing






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