News & Events
Article by Perry Backus - Ravalli Republic
Forty-six years ago, a small group of forward-thinking folks in the Bitterroot Valley had an epiphany following a trip south to visit a fledgling organization helping Pueblo Indians and Latino farmers.
They found there one of the very first Resource Conservation and Development Councils in action.
These county commissioners and members on the local conservation districts liked this idea of local people working together to promote conscientious development of natural resources, while improving the quality of life for their neighbors.
And so they decided to give something similar a try in Ravalli, Missoula and Mineral counties.
None probably could have imagined what that leap of faith would yield over the next 46 years.
The list of projects, reports, activities and organizations the Bitter Root RC&D has helped over the last 20 years fills four pages of single-spaced entries.
In Ravalli County, the RC&D Council helped form the first Wildland Urban Interface Task Force eight years before the fires of 2000. It facilitated meetings for creation of the Bitterroot Aquatic Center. RC&D officials helped get the grants needed to start biomass heating projects at schools in Darby and Victor. They provided fiscal management and support to the Valley Veterans Service Center.
"People often ask me what we do," said Bitter Root RC&D President Allen Bjergo. "I tell them our tentacles reach wide into the community. We have the ability to work with private individuals, non-profits, and local, state and federal government and create conduits so they can all work together."
Bjergo said it happens in all sorts of different ways.
Someone with a good idea for a non-profit venture can apply for grants under the RC&D's umbrella. Some non-profits need help managing their fiscal affairs. RC&D staff can do that too.
Other times, the RC&D takes the lead... Read more
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