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UMW Hosts Community Water Conversations Panel with Trout Unlimited

November 16, 2023

The University of Montana Western and Trout Unlimited are excited to host the second annual “Community Water Conversations: Digging into Water Rights and Exempt Wells” on Thursday, December 7, 2023, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. in the Lewis and Clark Room located in UMW’s Mathews Hall.

The event is free and open to the public and will feature a panel and Q&A session. Designed to share knowledge and perspectives from a group of experts, this year’s panelists include: Andrew Gorder, Legal Director of the Clark Fork Coalition, Nate Ward, Water Rights Bureau Chief at Montana DNRC, Brooke Erb, Erb Livestock Company, and Race King, Ranch Manager at the Selkirk Division of Matador Ranch and Cattle Company.

“There were a lot of questions about water rights and exempt wells last year, which is why we want to create a space where we can learn about these topics and hear different perspectives. Understanding the legal structures and management practices that shape water flows is critical to understand the challenges our community faces as well as identify opportunities for improvement,” said UMW Professor of Environmental Sustainability, Dr. Arica Crootof.

Dr. Crootof’s students are helping design and host this event. “It is important that our students – who will be land and water managers – understand the complexity of natural resources management as well as the importance of working with different stakeholders to find shared solutions,” said Dr. Crootof. “This forum offers the students, and the community, a chance to dive into the complexity of these topics together and see how we all play a role in shaping local water resources.”

Montana Western would like to thank Montana Trout Unlimited and each of the panelists for making this event possible.

“We are excited to welcome the community to this event on the Montana Western campus for the second year. It is a great opportunity for our students to be involved in a community-wide forum that will highlight a variety of different ideas and perspectives,” said Montana Western Chancellor, Michael Reid.

Attendees are encouraged to bring questions and ideas for this and future community conversations. For more information, please contact Dr. Arica Crootof: [email protected] or 406-683-7075.