The Foundation's key goals include "Boots in the Water" projects that apply conservation and preservation for real-world protection of the Madison. Ranging from fencing, well-drilling, fish rescue, and fish barriers to willow planting and in-stream habitat improvements, we're going all out to get the job done . . . and done well.
The video below was produced by MRF member Jeff Laszlo, owner of Granger Ranches. It shows how thoughtful land stewardship in the Madison Valley can benefit all resources.
The Foundation is a partner in the O'Dell Creek Headwaters Restoration Project, the largest wetlands restoration project in Montana. The Laszlo family, recipients of the Foundation's 2012 "Friends of the Madison" award, has put more than 8000 acres into conservation easement in conjunction with the project.
The only private fish hatchery in Montana is located on the Sun Ranch here in the Madison Valley. The hatchery, a joint project of the ranch and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, raises genetically pure Westslope cutthroat trout for stocking in appropriate streams, including some tributaries of the Madison. The Foundation is a partner in the project, and awards an annual $5000 grant to help fund hatchery operations. Foundation volunteers also assist with projects to restore our native trout so some of its historic range.
The Foundation is a founding member of the Madison Watershed Partnership (MWP), a collaborative initiative with the Madison Conservation District, the Madison Valley Ranchlands Group, and Madison Farm to Fork. The partnership supports the establishment and activities of a full-time Madison Watershed Coordinator. The MWP represents these groups with varied yet common interests in the resources of the Madison watershed.
The partnership meets quarterly to help plan and implement a collaborative approach to problem solving in the Madison watershed. These groups recognize the need for conservation planning on a watershed scale, and that such planning requires that resource management efforts be cohesive and cooperative among the various user grops on the Madison.
Volunteers from the Foundation mount a fish rescue each fall, returning thousands of fish to the river whent he water flow in the ditch is shut down. This is always one of the most popular projects. Despite some bad weather, a diverse cadre - from home-schoolers learning about ecology to retirees in their seventies - gathers stranded fish and returns them to the Madison
One of the most successful volunteer monitoring programs in the state, the Madison Stream Team is comprised of citizen scientists who volunteer their time to collect credible water quality data on streams in the watershed. The program includes classroom and field training events led by water quality experts from the state and the Madison Conservation District.
These committed members then complete regular data collection events on the various streams. Because of the in-depth knowledge that volunteers gain through the program, state agencies recognize their data as accurate and reliable for assisting in resource management decisions.
As a collaborative partnership between developers, private landowners, university researchers, local conservation organizations, and a school district, the Jack Creek Project was formed in 2006 based upon the shared belief of giving back to the community.
Through regular monitoring events, the project collects baseline data on the water quality conditions of Jack Creek, an important tributary of the Madison River. Regular education events for students ages 2 - 18 are also held to encourage a better understanding of our streams and rivers.
The Madison River Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors, and day-to-day operations are performed by an Executive Director. Together, these people oversee the projects in which the Foundation engages as well as their funding.
Joe Dilschneider, President
Ray Clark, Secretary
Beth Hageman, Treasurer
Liz Davis, Executive Director
Pamela Kimmey, Executive Assistant