Sanders County, located in mountainous northwestern Montana, has a total area of 2,690 square miles and is home to some of the wettest and driest areas of the state. The Clark Fork River, which is a tributary of the Columbia River, runs the length of Sanders County flowing from southeast to the northwest. The county has a wealth of public land with two National Forests, the Kootenai National Forest and the Lolo National Forest in addition to the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness and the National Bison Range. The Flathead Indian Reservation boundaries encompass 26% of the county, primarily on the eastern edges. Only 18% of the land in Sanders County is privately owned. Thompson Falls, with a population of 1,300, is the largest city in this county of 11,844.
The primary agricultural land use in Sanders County is pasture and range, followed by woodlands and cropland. Most of the agriculture takes place in the southern portion of the county. The northern end of the county has some cattle producers but is more generally forested. NRCS offices, located in Plains, and Pablo, offer voluntary technical and financial assistance to private landowners interested in natural resource conservation based on a focused approach using long range planning with local input.
Current Financial Assistance Opportunities for Sanders County Landowners
- Roots for Rivers Targeted Implementation Plan (TIP)
- A Focus on Soil Health - Lake and Sanders County Cover Crop Targeted Implementation Plan (TIP)
- Aspen Regeneration on the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Reservation TIP
- Addressing a Species in Decline: White Pine, King of the Forest TIP
In addition to these local projects, producers may also apply for statewide programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program, national Environmental Quality Incentives Program initiatives, and conservation easement programs. For more information on these and other programs, see State Programs and Initiatives on the NRCS Montana webpage.