Cascade Conservation District - Cascade County Conservation District

Where are we?

The USDA Service Center (NRCS, FSA and Rural Development) and the Cascade Conservation District are located at 12 Third Street NW, Great Falls, Montana 59404.  The office is on the second floor of the First Interstate Bank building adjacent to the Cascade County Fairgrounds.

Purpose

Conservation Districts (CDs) work locally to fulfill the state’s policy to conserve soil, water, and other natural resources of the state. The Cascade Conservation District (CCD) covers all areas within the county boundaries except within the original (1947) city limits of Great Falls, Belt and Cascade.  Visit the Contact section to learn more about the board.

Cascade Conservation District - Cascade County Conservation District - Great Falls, Montana

History

Conservation districts grew from public concern for the condition of our natural resources in the 1930s. In 1935, the US Congress declared soil and water conservation to be national policy, with the passage of Public Law 46. At the state level, Montana Conservation District Law (Section 75-7-101 through 75-7-124 MCA) was enacted to allow land users to form soil and water conservation districts. In 1944 the Sun River Soil Conservation District was activated.  It covered the irrigated area along the Sun River, including parts of Teton and Lewis & Clark Counties as well as a portion of Cascade County.  And, in 1946, the balance of Cascade County was organized into the Cascade Soil and Water Conservation District.  George Grosskopf of Armington and Bowen Conrad of Cascade were the first two supervisors appointed by the State Soil Conservation Committee and Harold Shane, Ted Pettyjohn and A.P. Andersen were elected to serve the newly formed district.  Andersen served as the first chairman.  These same supervisors served until 1964. In 1960 the two districts merged as one, the Cascade County Soil and Water Conservation District.  In 1971 the District adopted its current name, the Cascade County Conservation District.  The District is located at the southern apex of the Golden Triangle area of Montana.  It is bordered on the south by the Big Belt and Little Belt Mountains and on the east by the Highwood Mountains.  It covers an area of 1,701,760 acres, extending 66 miles wide, east to west, and 66 miles long, north to south.

Today, Montana’s 58 CDs provide local citizens with an opportunity to shape resource planning in their areas.

In the 1860’s, the first recorded permanent settlers were located in the Chestnut Valley near the present town of Cascade, and on June 30, 1867, Fort Shaw was established on the Sun River west of the “great falls of the Missouri” to protect travelers between Fort Benton and Helena, and from there was freighted by wagons to Helena.  The post was an important stopping point en route, but as more people began to inhabit the area, the need for military protection was significantly reduced, so in 1891 the garrison was abandoned.  In 1881 the townsite of Great Falls was surveyed by Paris Gibson, and the city incorporated in 1888.  In September of 1887, Cascade County was organized from parts of Chouteau, Lewis and Clark and Meagher counties.

Agriculture in the District was entirely developed to ranching before the advent of the railroad in 1887.  By 1918, most of the arable land had been developed into farms and continuous cropping was the accepted method of farming.  In the 1920s farmers began to adopt alternate crop-fallow as a more reliable system of farming.

Cascade Conservation District - Cascade County Conservation District - Great Falls, Montana

In the early 1930s the mounting problems of soil erosion, floods, and dust storms resulted in Congress passing Public Law 46 in 1935.  This law declared soil and water conservation and wise land use a national policy.  However, there was a missing link in making the wheels of this policy turn, so in 1937 the President wrote governors of the states recommending legislation allowing landowners to form soil and water conservation districts.  The President’s recommendations were followed through with resulting in 2950 conservation districts representing all 50 states, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

In 1944 the Sun River Soil Conservation District was activated.  It covered the irrigated area along the Sun River, including parts of Teton and Lewis & Clark Counties as well as a portion of Cascade County.  And, in 1946, the balance of Cascade County was organized into the Cascade Soil and Water Conservation District.  George Grosskopf of Armington and Bowen Conrad of Cascade were the first two supervisors appointed by the State Soil Conservation Committee and Harold Shane, Ted Pettyjohn and A.P. Andersen were elected to serve the newly formed district.  Andersen served as the first chairman.  These same supervisors served until 1964 when Dale Marxer was elected to the Board.

Cascade Conservation District - Cascade County Conservation District - Great Falls, Montana

In 1960 the two districts merged as one, the Cascade County Soil and Water Conservation District.  In 1971 the District adopted its current name, the Cascade County Conservation District.

The District is located at the southern apex of the Golden Triangle area of Montana.  It is bordered on the south by the Big Belt and Little Belt Mountains and on the east by the Highwood Mountains.  It covers an area of 1,701,760 acres, extending 66 miles wide, east to west, and 66 miles long, north to south.

Activities

Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act: (75-7-101 et seq. MCA) – Any private individual or corporation that proposes to work in or near perennial streams must first apply for a permit from a conservation district.

Water Quality: CDs are responsible for nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control at the local level. Conservation districts work with federal and state agencies to identify and prioritize areas affected by NPS pollution. They also work to conduct projects that demonstrate NPS pollution control practices.

Coordinated Resource Management and Planning/Watershed Planning: CDs coordinate and/or participate in local efforts to increase the effectiveness of resource management and planning activities on private, county, state and federal land.

Cascade Conservation District - Cascade County Conservation District - Great Falls, Montana

Education: CCD engages in educational activities with people of all ages to help them understand the value of conservation and how best to accomplish it.

Urban/Suburban Activities: CDs provide soil surveys, water inventories, assistance with waste disposal, and other services to planning boards’ commissioners, municipal officials, schools, builders, hospitals, industries, and owners of subdivided acreages.

Outdoor Classroom

The Cascade Conservation District has an outdoor classroom located on the North Shore of the Missouri River.  Crooked Falls Managed Natural Area is a wonderful place to enjoy.  The lease is through PPL Montana.  Crooked Falls is part of Lewis and Clark Heritage Greenway Conservation Easement.  PPL has dedicated financial and technical assistance tot the District as we continue the enhancement of Crooked Falls.