Big Hole Conservation Fund
Film by Tom Attwater Media
Give 1% Back to the River
The Business Case for Conservation
Local businesses are a critical part of the Big Hole’s community & economy. And the river is the lifeblood of our economy – if not for the river, no one would ranch here, build homes here, or start businesses here. A healthy river system drives traffic to the Big Hole and to many local businesses. And as the quality of the resource improves, so does the quality of the experience visitors have in the Big Hole. That experience has value. It has deep value to the people who choose to spend their time here. And it is valuable to the businesses that depend on their visits. We believe your customers recognize this value and will want to be a part of improving our watershed, 1% at a time.
Why the Big Hole Watershed Committee?
BHWC has been in the business of improving the health of the Big Hole River watershed and the quality of the experience people have here for over 26 years. In the early 1990s, the Big Hole River was going dry and at risk of being labeled a “chronically dewatered” stream, while the Arctic grayling was being considered for listing as an endangered species. Ranchers, outfitters, and state and federal agency representatives came together to form the Big Hole Watershed Committee (BHWC) in 1995. The group ethos, then and now, is to bring all stakeholders to the table to understand the river and find common solutions for its management, driven through partnerships and collaboration. BHWC published the state’s first Drought Management Plan in 1997, and ranchers continue to call each other to shut off water when the river gets low while outfitters, guides, and anglers comply with MFWP-enforced restrictions to protect the fishery. Our river is loved, but not overcrowded by anglers like other places because of river recreation rules we pushed for over a decade ago. Since BHWC was formed, no stretch of the Big Hole River has ever been dry. Grayling populations in the Big Hole are improving and the local fishing economy is strong. We believe local businesses are benefitting from BHWC’s collective efforts over the years, which have brought nearly $10 million into the watershed through stock water wells, irrigation improvements, predator conflict reduction programs, large-scale ecological restoration projects, studies and prioritization reports, and more. You can learn more about our past accomplishments here: https://bhwc.org/completed-projects/.
Current Conservation Fund Projects
Donations can be targeted to the project of your choosing or to the area of greatest need (we’ll choose). Contributions can be made directly via our website (donate here) or by opting-in to the voluntary 1% fee when shopping at a 1% for the River partner business.
Pennington Bridge Restoration (FUNDED!)
Lower Big Hole Streambank Restoration (FUNDED!)
Sage Springs Mesic Restoration (UP NEXT!)
How to Get Involved
Businesses: Contact BHWC to learn more about our 1% for the River partnership program.
- Choose to do business at 1% for the River partner businesses, listed above right!
- Donate! We accept one-time, monthly, and round-up donations. Donations are tax-deductible and can be targeted to specific projects.
- Join us at our monthly meetings, the 3rd Wednesday of each month (except for July and December) at the Divide Grange. Meetings also available via Zoom.
- Subscribe to our email newsletter (include your mailing address if you’d also like a paper copy of our biannual newsletter).
- Follow us on social media. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
- Text “bighole” to 26989 to connect with BHWC via text message.