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About MCPI

MCPI is an agreement between the Montana Association of Conservation Districts and the Natural Resource Conservation Service

The purpose of the Montana Conservation Partnership Initiative (MCPI) is to promote and sustain long-term conservation partnerships in Montana that are increasing capacity and leveraging existing resources to further deliver conservation services at the local level. MCPI brings together federal, state, conservation district, and non-government entities from across the state to provide timely, resource-based solutions in the following areas: range and cropland, forestry, water resources, soil health, wildlife, and conservation technical assistance.  

Through the agreement with Montana NRCS, the Montana Association of Conservation Districts is the lead entity supporting and coordinating the MCPI. The MCPI is executed through multiple contractual agreements established with partners for each of the resource areas listed above.

Primary Objectives of MCPI

  • Provide technical assistance to agricultural producers to develop conservation plans that address resource concerns identified through the 9-step planning process;
  • Market and assist landowners in applying for and implementing Farm Bill programs to further the conservation of natural resources;
  • Assist landowners with applying for other national, state and local programs available to further the conservation of natural resources and leverage non-federal funding sources; and,
  • Increase communications and outreach by creating and maintaining a MCPI network to increase partner buy-in and conservation program participation by landowners.

Current Projects

  • Sage Grouse Initiative Program:  This program employs four Range Conservationists who work in NRCS offices (Roundup, Ekalaka, Circle, and Malta) in key rangeland focal areas to maintain and expand technical assistance capacity to strengthen working ranchlands management. The Range Conservationists work with private landowners in Montana to increase the sustainability and economic viability of ranches while simultaneously improving the habitat for sage grouse and other rangeland dependent wildlife.       
  • Pheasants Forever Partner Positions: This program employs six individuals with purpose of providing technical and program support to Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (MT FWP), and local Pheasants Forever chapters on habitat conservation programs.
  • Soil Health Project: This program supports a position within the Little Beaver Conservation District that conducts soil sampling and data analysis.  The main purpose of this project is to track and catalog the soil microbial changes to better understand how that relates to soil health.  The data collected under this project will be used as a tool to help producers better understand and manage their soils.
  • Montana Forest Collaborative Network: This program supports the Montane Forest Collaborative Network coordinator in natural resource management through outreach and education. This position also communicates the importance of private lands conservation as it relates to forest health and wildfire risk in a cross-boundary context.
  • Milk River Watershed Alliance: This program supports the MRWA coordinator in working with stakeholders in the Milk River watershed to assist with planning associated with the rehabilitation of the St. Mary’s irrigation facilities.
  • Missouri River Conservation Districts Council: This program supports the MRCDC coordinator to provide increased education and outreach activities throughout the MRCDC geographical area through workshops, tours, and other methods.  Under this program the coordinator also assists in the development of long-range plans (LRP’s) and Targeted Implementation Plans (TIPs).   
  • Yellowstone River Conservation Districts Council:  This program’s objectives are to identify issues and provide recommendations to sustain operation of the irrigation districts within the Yellowstone River corridor.  This is done through field visits with producers and irrigation district board members to catalog infrastructure, identify potential problems, and provide recommendations on improvement.
  • Private Lands Wildlife Biologist:  This program supports a partner position through Bird Conservancy of the Rockies.  This position works with individual producers to explain programs and program benefits and provide direct technical assistance to plan, design, install, and inspect wildlife conservation practices. The objective is to ensure that producers are knowledgeable of conservation cost-share programs administered by NRCS. Delivery of technical assistance support and field services, such as development of wildlife practice installation plans, practice layout, practice inspection, status reviews, and conservation planning activities are provided as needed on a work priority basis.

If you have any questions regarding the Montana Conservation Partnership Initiative, please contact Melissa Downing (melissa@macdnet.org).

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