Cover photo for Ranching for Rivers

Ranching for Rivers

Soil & Water Conservation Districts of Montana

Closed December 31, 2020


The Ranching for Rivers promotes the use of “riparian pastures” for improvement of fisheries habitat, in-stream flows, and establishment of cottonwoods, willows, and other woody riparian species. A riparian pasture is a relatively small pasture that can still be grazed for a portion of the year. Benefits of riparian pastures include improved management flexibility, the ability to use livestock grazing to manage weeds and overgrown vegetation, improved access for wildlife to stream areas, and decreased maintenance costs of fencing and off-stream water resources.



Landowners, Conservation Districts, and Watershed Groups who are working within areas with a DEQ-approved Watershed Restoration Plan are encouraged to apply for program funding for identified projects.

Priority funding will be given to projects that fall within an area with a DEQ-approved Watershed Restoration Plan. A status list of Watershed Restoration Plans can be found on:

Eligible Costs:

  • Fencing Material for complete exclusions or “riparian pastures”

  • Livestock pipeline

  • Materials for stream crossing

  • Permanent drinking tanks & winter tanks with storage

  • Contracted costs for the development of a Grazing Management Plan by a range specialist

  • Conservation District and Watershed Group Staff time for technical assistance

NRCS rates, provided in appendix A of the Ranching for Rivers Application, can be used to calculate expenses for certain practices

Ineligible Costs:

  • Time & labor costs by associated with project installation

  • Fencing/equipment maintenance or replacement


The Ranching for Rivers program offers 50% cost-share for project implementation and/or the development of a Grazing Management Plan. The 50% cost-share will be provided in the form of reimbursement following a completed project. Upon application acceptance, landowners are required to complete a landowner agreement requiring maintenance of the installed practice(s) for the expected life of the practice(s) (typically 10 years).

50% nonfederal match must be recorded and reported to SWCDM along with final project expenses and reporting. Match may include:

  • Dollars provided by other non-federal grants used to complete the project

  • Dollars provided directly by the landowner.

  • Laboring or administrative costs by a Conservation District, Watershed Group, or landowner not already being charged directly to the Ranching for Rivers program.


Similar Programs


Release Date

January 1, 2020


December 31, 2020


Soil & Water Conservation Districts of Montana (SWCDM)

Financial Instrument

Cost Share, Grant

Updated April 12, 2021

This information was gathered from public sources. Ambrook is not responsible for or able to affect the results of any financial programs listed, nor are they responsible for any incorrect information that is listed or is on the hyperlinked external sites. All information is subject to change.