By Michael Howell
The Bitter Root Water Forum is a vibrant and growing organization, according to Executive Director Heather Barber. She told supporters at their annual end of the year celebration that they were offering more watershed education and restoration projects to the community each year.
“This was one of the best years yet for on the ground restoration and watershed education,” said Barber. She said the organization had planted, maintained and monitored over 2,000 native plants along three impaired streams in the headwaters. With the help of over 75 volunteers, BRWF removed nearly 2,000 pounds of trash from the Bitterroot River at the annual Clean Up. Through classroom partnerships the organization taught more than 750 students about the importance of the valley’s water resources and took more than 250 students on field trips to explore and connect to watershed streams.
“We have even bigger and better projects and programs planned for 2015,” said Barber, “including watershed improvement projects on abandoned and deteriorating roads on the Bitterroot National Forest as well as projects with private landowners to reduce stream bank erosion. These projects will greatly reduce sediment delivery to sediment-laden Rye Creek and Sleeping Child Creek.”
The Bitter Root Water Forum said goodbye to board member and treasurer Travis Martinez at its annual end of the year celebration party. BRWF President David Schultz presented Martinez with a plaque honoring him for his service in the non-profit watershed organization. Martinez served with BRWF for three years and did a tremendous amount to help grow the organization into the thriving nonprofit that exists today. Schultz said that as treasurer, Martinez provided keen oversight to the group’s financials and as a realtor, he helped the organization reconnect to the realtor community through continuing education courses, including one on irrigation that was provided to the Bitterroot Valley Board of Realtors this spring.
“Travis will be greatly missed, but we’re better off for having had him for as long as we did and we can’t thank him enough for his service to BRWF and our community,” said Barber.