2023 Montana Watershed and Wetland Stewardship Award Recipients Announced
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: April 24, 2023

HELENA– Five individuals and families will be honored with 2023 Montana Watershed and Wetland Stewardship Awards by the Montana Watershed Coordination Council (MWCC) and the Montana Wetland Council. The awards honor individuals or groups who embody excellence and commitment to watershed or wetland conservation, protection and restoration. Award recipients will be recognized by Lieutenant Governor Kristen Juras on April 26, 2023 at an awards ceremony at the Holter Museum of Art in Helena, Mont.

“The Watershed and Wetland Stewardship Award recipients are shining examples of the front-line work that catalyzes the vitality of Montana watersheds and communities,” said Zach Owen, Board Chair of the Montana Watershed Coordination Council. “Their leadership and dedication have resulted in successful partnerships that protect treasured land and water resources statewide.”

2023 Award Winners:

Laura Nowlin, Musselshell Watershed Coalition

Ryen Neudecker, Big Blackfoot Chapter of Trout Unlimited

The Life in the Land Project, a documentary film and podcast series

Karin Boyd, Applied Geomorphology, Inc.

Grosswiler and Marvin Families, Flathead Valley


Laura Nowlin, Musselshell Watershed Coalition:  Since joining the Musselshell Watershed Coalition as the group’s first coordinator in 2014, Laura Nowlin has built successful relationships with and among landowners, state and federal agencies, municipal governments, state legislators, nonprofits, and community members. Collaboratively working with partners, she has planned and completed several conservation and restoration projects in the Musselshell River watershed, an area spanning 9,500 miles. Laura is an integral part of Montana’s statewide conservation network and in her community of Winnett, where she co-manages her family’s ranch. For more on Laura’s work, visit: https://www.mtwatersheds.org/laura-nowlin-receives-montana-watershed-stewardship-award/

Ryen Neudecker, Big Blackfoot Chapter of Trout Unlimited:  During her 21 years with the Big Blackfoot Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Ryen Neudecker’s restoration work has helped transform the Blackfoot River and its tributaries. She has collaborated with more than 150 landowners and dozens of public and private partners to restore and enhance 120 miles of stream, 200 miles of streamside habitat and 3,000 acres of wetlands in the Blackfoot River watershed. Ryen combines landowner, community and biological needs to undertake and complete habitat and conservation work benefiting streams and riparian areas. For more on Ryen’s accomplishments, visit: mtwatersheds.org/ryen-neudecker-receives-montana-watershed-stewardship-award/

The Life in the Land Project:  Life in the Land is a documentary film and podcast series highlighting the relationships between people and land. Current films feature the Big Hole Valley, Central Montana Plains, the Blackfeet Nation and the Seeley-Swan Region. Throughout the films and podcast series, filmmaker Lara Tomov highlights the voices of community leaders, ranchers, conservationists and others working to promote resilient communities and landscapes. The films are free to view at LifeintheLand.org and have been featured in community screenings, workshops, high school and university curricula, and film festivals across the country and in the United Kingdom and Mexico.  For more about this collaborative project, visit: mtwatersheds.org/the-life-in-the-land-project-receives-montana-watershed-stewardship-award/

Karin Boyd, Applied Geomorphology, Inc:  Karin Boyd is recognized nationally and internationally for her fluvial geomorphology knowledge and holistic understanding of river systems and their complexities. As owner of Applied Geomorphology, Inc. in Bozeman, Karin has worked collaboratively with local partners and scientists across Montana to develop sound approaches for restoring and protecting functioning river systems, floodplains and wetlands.  Since 1988 she has studied and worked on hundreds of streams in Montana, including developing channel migration zone maps for nearly 1,500 miles of Montana’s rivers. For more on Karin’s accomplishments, visit: mtwatersheds.org/karin-boyd-receives-montana-wetland-stewardship-award/

Grosswiler and Marvin families: In 2017 and 2018, the Grosswiler and Marvin families placed 396 acres of land in the rapidly growing Flathead Valley under conservation easement with the Flathead Land Trust. The conservation easement protects agricultural lands, open space, wetlands and critical habitat for migratory birds. As part of the West Valley Wetlands, the land supports a diversity of wetland birds and the only known staging area for sandhill cranes in the Flathead Valley. The project involved multiple partners and included construction of the public West Valley Bird and Wildlife Viewing area to inspire future generations to care about conserving wetlands. For more about the project, visit: mtwatersheds.org/grosswiler-and-marvin-families-receive-montana-wetland-stewardship-award/

The stewardship awards ceremony will be preceded by a film screening from the Life in the Land Project and a gathering of conservation professionals from across the state for the MWCC Annual Meeting. Members are the press are invited to attend. For more information, visit: mtwatersheds.org/connection/annual-meeting/.

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