The stewardship awards recognize the roles private landowners and residents play in resource conservation through their stewardship activities. Nominations for the award share the stories of stewards’ projects and showcase the successful voluntary stewardship efforts happening within the Madison and Ruby Conservation Districts.
Winners of the stewardship awards provide lasting benefits to the landscape by completing projects that focus on educational efforts, streams, riparian areas, forests or any other natural resources.
Madison Valley Stewardship winners
Cora and Bob Goggins received the Stewardship Award for the Madison Valley. The Goggins, who are from Ennis, have been a ranching team for over 65 years. The two have been on their current ranch since 1959. The ranch primarily raises Hereford Bulls.
Nominated by their granddaughter, Rachel Endecott, the Goggins have improved water quality and participated in community stream monitoring and have increased habitat for wildlife, fish and waterfowl.
The NRCS and Madison Valley Weed Committee enrolled a group of the Goggins’ heifers in the Cows Eating Weeds project. The cows are now five-years-old and graze knapweed and wild licorice every summer. In addition to grazing, the Goggins have controlled weeds by spraying and hand pulling.
“Successful ranching is a unique partnership between people and livestock where the cattle work for you and you work for the cattle; and in order to work for them, one must take care of the land,” Rachel said in her nomination of her grandparents. “Bob and Cora Goggins of Ennis are a great example of this philosophy.”
Ruby Valley Stewardship winners
The Ruby Valley Conservation District awarded George Trischman with this year’s stewardship award. Nominated by his crew at Hamilton Ranch, Trischman served as the ranch’s manager for 25 years up until his recent retirement. The Hamilton Ranch is outside of Twin Bridges.
Trischman improved riparian health and worked on improving the productivity of the ranch while creating healthy fish and wildlife habitats. His operation included projects from Rochester Basin to Hells Canyon to Stone Creek to the Upper Ruby, Warm Springs and Moose-Camp Creek. As an active member in numerous community, statewide and national committees and organizations, Trischman educated others and implemented practices and policies to benefit the lands.
Trischman also worked to control weeds by using chemical and biological methods to keep noxious weeds and undesirable plant species at bay. He targeted weeds without threatening native grass species.
Weed Fighter of the Year
Madison County Commissioner Dave Schulz presented rancher Rick Sandru with the Montana Weed Control Association’s Weed Fighter of the Year award. This award is given to an individual who institutes an aggressive attack on weeds by implementing unique and innovative approaches to weed control. The award is open to any age level.
Sandru is a third-generation Montana rancher. He currently operates a family ranch in Twin Bridges. He also serves as the Ruby Valley Stock Association President; Southwest Montana Stockmen Association Director; Ruby Valley Conservation District Supervisor; Montana Stockgrowers’ Association member and Montana Public Lands Council member.