A member of the National Association of Conservation Districts, the Lewis & Clark Conservation District was organized in June 1948. It originally included all of Lewis and Clark County except a portion in the northeast corner, which was part of Cascade County Conservation District, and it included part of Jefferson County lying north of the Boulder Hill. It excluded the 1948 city boundaries of Helena and East Helena. In 1961, the portion of Lewis and Clark County in Cascade County Conservation District was made part of LCCD. In June 1966, the part of the District in Jefferson County was made a part of the Jefferson Valley Conservation District. Areas of Helena and East Helena that were annexed since 1948 are included in the Conservation District. There are 1,288,258 acres in Lewis & Clark County, not including National Forest land. That amounts to 2013 square miles. There are 54 miles of the Sun River paralleling the county line with Teton Conservation District. 696,960 of over 1.4 million acres of the Sun River Watershed are located in Lewis & Clark Conservation District.
A board of supervisors is elected to plan and carry out programs to conserve natural resources in the district. Membership of the first Board of Supervisors consisted of Myrlin Donaldson, George Diehl, Gilman Mirehouse, Robert Mosher and Adolph Burgraff. Brick Vaughn served as the first District Secretary and Rex Campbell and Homer Turner were the first technicians with the Soil Conservation Service.
Present Board members are Jeff Ryan (Chairman), Scott Blackman (Vice Chair), Jeanette Nordahl (treasurer), Sarah Howe-Cobb, Ron Ingersoll, Stan Frasier and Steve Granzow. The District was divided into supervisor areas in 1997 and every Supervisor lives in the area that they represent.
The District has been involved in the surrounding county in a multitude of ways over the years. Administration of the “310 Law”, the Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act of 1975 is one of the regular District activities. The Sediment and Erosion Control Ordinance for Lewis & Clark County was repealed in November 2008.
We work with educators, small acreage landowners, ranchers and farmers. In past years (as well as in 1988 and 1994) the District has helped with fire rehabilitation efforts focusing on revegetation, property management and weed control. Co-located with the federal agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Conservation District has access to technical help for area landowners. We also have assisted with flood recovery efforts county-wide.
The Annual Plan for Lewis & Clark Conservation District encompasses aspects of water, plant and people resources. Community education concerning these resources and active involvement in watershed work, noxious weed eradication and control, grazing management issues and quality customer service in the form of the Lewis & Clark Land Stewardship Series, the quarterly newsletter The Explorer, an annual weed workshop and participation in the Youth Education Curriculums available. In addition, an all day workshop is an annual event with weeds, range and riparian health as main topics. The District also keeps legislators informed as to resource issues and challenges in their areas.