Blackfoot Challenge

One of the West’s longest-running collaboratives helping people and wildlife share the landscape.

Photo by Jeremy Roberts/Conservation Media.
Photo by Kevin Rhoades.
Photo by Kevin Rhoades.
Photo by Jeremy Roberts/Conservation Media.

Blackfoot Challenge PROJECT BRIEF

Blackfoot Challenge does it all in their vital region of central Montana, providing essential on-the-ground services that ensure the coexistence of wildlife and agriculture—two sides of the Blackfoot Valley’s rich heritage.

A collaborative of local landowners and conservationists, they facilitate the longest-running Range Rider program in the country—not to mention winter carnivore monitoring, human-bear conflict reduction programs, and scientific studies within communities. Each summer, range riders monitor livestock and predators across 40,000 acres of rugged country, checking herd health, updating ranchers and community members on wolf and grizzly travel, and detecting and removing carcasses from high-risk sites.

After helping fund the range rider program in past years, we began supporting their electric fencing efforts in 2020. In 2022 we funded three new electric fencing projects on ranches and homesites. These expand on existing permanent and temporary fencing infrastructure in the watershed that have helped to keep grizzlies and wolves away from attractants like chicken coops and grain silos.

Blackfoot Challenge at a Glance

  • Conservation cooperative based in Ovando, Mont.
  • Work throughout 1.5-million acre Blackfoot Watershed
  • Range Rider Program monitors livestock and predators across 40,000 remote acres
  • Funded three electric fencing projects in 2022 to secure attractants.