Western Montana Conservation Commission

Our Mission

The Western Montana Conservation Commission strives to protect the existing high quality of western Montana’s resources including water quality and quantity, recreational and scenic values, and fish and other wildlife, including the prevention and management of aquatic invasive species.

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About the Western Montana Conservation Commission
  • Passed during the 2023 Montana Legislative Session, Senate Bill 83 effectively created the Western Montana Conservation Commission (WMCC). Initiated as part of Governor Greg Gianforte’s Red Tape Relief Initiative, WMCC effectively combines and replaces the roles and jurisdiction of the Flathead Basin Commission (FBC) and the Upper Columbia Conservation Commission (UC3).
  • FBC was created in 1983 to protect the natural resources of the Flathead Basin and has focused on water quality protection through nonpoint source pollution mitigation efforts, emphasizing resident education, outreach, and engagement. Notable work of FBC to date includes: a moratorium on coal mining in the transboundary Flathead, an inventory, mapping, and comprehensive assessment of stormwater infrastructure in Flathead County, and an innovative, publicly available GIS Septic Risk Mapping tool, which aims to demonstrate the future and existing risk of septic leachate in the Flathead watershed. Under WMCC, this water quality protection work will expand to include the Kootenai River Basin, the upper and lower Clark Fork River Basins, the Bitterroot River Basin and the Blackfoot River Basin.
  • UC3 was created in 2017 to bolster the States aquatic invasive species program and to encourage comprehensive prevention and management efforts within western Montana. Notable work of UC3 to date includes: an industry outreach education program that now serves as a model for programs across the state, assistance in the creation of the Upper Columbia Lakes Network, a citizen science monitoring program, and years of successful legislative education, outreach, and engagement.
  • WMCC serves as a convening body to facilitate coordination between resource managers across western Montana, including all land and water west of the continental divide. WMCC is administratively attached to the Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation.
WMCC Statutory Duties

WMCC is tasked to:

  1. monitor the condition of aquatic and natural resources in western Montana and coordinate the development of a 5-year monitoring strategy;
  2. support, promote, and ensure the continuation of a comprehensive aquatic invasive species prevention program in western Montana;
  3. encourage close cooperation and coordination between federal, state, provincial, tribal, and local resource managers for the establishment of consistent natural resource conservation practices, comprehensive monitoring, data collection, and interpretation;
  4. encourage and work for international coordination between the state of Montana and the province of British Columbia concerning the undertaking of natural resource monitoring and use of consistent standards for management of natural resources throughout the region;
  5. provide focused support and programming to the aquatic and natural resources of the Flathead River basin given its economic, cultural, and natural resource importance to the state of Montana;
  6. support economic development and use of western Montana's resources to their fullest extent without compromising the aquatic resources of western Montana;
  7. undertake investigations related to water quality and natural resource utilization and hold public hearings concerning the condition of the aquatic resources and other natural resources in western Montana;
  8. use the result of the duties performed to create public and private partnerships that: result in projects to reduce point source water pollution and nonpoint source water pollutions, prevent the spread of invasive species; and maintain, enhance, restore, expand, or benefit the aquatic resources of western Montana;
  9. submit to the governor, the environmental quality council, and the water policy interim committee, a biennial report; and
  10. meet at least semiannually within western Montana at locations selected by the commission.

Upcoming Meetings

February 7 and 8, 2024
Polson, MT
Agenda to Follow
Zoom Registration Here

Contact staff for details on Executive Committee.

Contact Us

Casey Lewis, Executive Director Casey.lewis@mt.gov

Emilie Henry, Program Coordinator Emilie.henry@mt.gov

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Western Montana Conservation Commission