About the Watershed Council

The Ruby Valley Conservation District (RVCD) and the Ruby Watershed Council (RWC) are committed to uniting agriculture, recreation, conservation and education to “protect the land and preserve our heritage”.

The Ruby Watershed Council was formed to assist the CD in providing information, education and outreach to help preserve the agricultural heritage, rural open space and natural resource integrity of the watershed. The Council is comprised of 11 appointed volunteers who represent a broad spectrum of the Ruby Watershed community.

The goal of the RWC is to better understand and characterize the natural resources of the Ruby Watershed and publicly share this information in a balanced, collaborative approach with all of the local and regional stakeholders. In this way, all citizens of the watershed benefit through the work of the council and the council builds important local support.

The RWC and RVCD have identified and prioritized several resource concerns to consider in the long-term plan. These priorities represent a ridge to ridge focus area for this watershed plan and provide goals and guidelines to maintain the natural resource integrity through a vision for the future with an eye on the past.

The RWC is an active member of the Montana Watershed Coordination Council, contributing to the future of watershed development through out the state.

Recent Projects Include:
  • Channel Migration Zone Mapping for the Lower Ruby River
  • Three Forks Corral Relocation Project in the Upper Ruby
  • Wetland & Riparian Mapping Project
  • see more recent projects…


About Our Watershed

The Ruby Watershed is a large (622,974 acres) rural valley containing primarily traditionalagricultural operations combined with a few small communities and an active recreational tourism industry. The Ruby River begins high in the Snowcrest and Gravelly mountains in southwest Montana and flows north through the valley until it joins the Beaverhead and Big Hole Rivers creating the headwaters of the Jefferson River. The Jefferson River then joins with the Madison and Gallatin Rivers thereby creating the Missouri River. The Ruby is the common thread that ties the land, the communities, the people and the resources together. It is the lifeblood of the valley. Protection of the river, its banks, its tributaries, and all of the surrounding habitat are critical to maintaining the beauty and sustainability of the entire watershed.

Facts about Our Watershed:

  • Size = 973.3 square miles, 622,974 acres
  • Elevation = 4,630 feet at confluence of Ruby and Beaverhead Rivers, 10,655 feet at Hogback Mountain
  • Ruby River Average Slope = 13 feet/mile or .2%
  • Average Annual Precipitation = 9” at Twin Bridges, 30” in the Gravelly/Snowcrest complexes, 50” in the Tobacco Root Mountains
  • Snowmelt Runoff = mid-May to mid-June (720 cfs ave)
  • Ave Base flow above Reservoir = 150 cfs
  • Land Cover Types = forest, grassland, sage/scrub, marshlands, riverine, sub-alpine mountain, alluvial formations
  • Ownership = 50.5% Federal, 11% State, 38.5% Private