“A top priority of mine is making sure robust public input and collaboration continue to drive our conservation legacy – future generations are depending on us to get it right.”

— Jean Curtiss, Missoula County Commissioner



Growing up between the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Mission Mountains inspired Jean to champion conservation efforts as a Missoula County Commissioner. One of her proudest conservation efforts was the landmark Milltown Dam removal and river restoration. She has been a long-term partner in the collaborative efforts such as the Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Project and the 9-Mile Valley partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and Trout Unlimited to focus more than $2.4 million in the cleanup of toxic mine tailings to restore connectivity in the 9-Mile Valley watershed.


Jean has worked with three Montana Governors, the Bonner-Milltown Community, the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, the EPA, DEQ, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the Clark Fork Coalition, the carpenters’ union and many others to get the Milltown Dam removal and river restoration project done. Curtiss worked together with Governor Bullock over a two year period to get an easement from International Paper for the public to now have access to the new park.

While the Milltown Dam has been gone for some time, this summer the Milltown State Park will open at the confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork Rivers. The project to replace the I-90 bridges that cross the Blackfoot will also begin this summer achieving the community goal of having the piers out of the river making is safer for the public.


A top priority for Jean is continuing Missoula County's legacy of private-public partnerships united behind the common good of preserving our open spaces for generations to come. She has worked side-by-side with diverse stakeholders on numerous conservation efforts in Missoula County including the protection of more than 29,000 acres of lands throughout the county through the Missoula County Open Space Bond project.


Acres Protected By Region


The 2006 Open Space Bond helped facilitate voluntary conservation easements to protect working farms and ranches, timberlands, water quality and critical habitat. Among the exciting conservation projects included is the purchase of a farm for Garden City Harvest to have a permanent home on River Road.


As Missoula County Commissioner, Curtiss has championed a myriad of conservation projects to improve the quality of life for current residents while protecting our outdoor heritage for our kids and grandkids. One recent example includes Jean personally working with landowners in Woodworth Meadows as they developed their vision for the area. Through voluntary conservation easements, that corner of Missoula County is now protected. Jean was proud to support the Missoula to Lolo Trail which is now complete and 5,000 people per month have been recorded walking and biking this new route.


The PLACE project is a conservation resource atlas for Missoula County and has layers for farm and grazing lands, flora and fauna, aquatic and riparian resources, recreation areas and historic sites. Access to this data is important for all decision-makers and Jean is proud to support its development.


As Missoula County Commissioner, Curtiss partnered with the U.S. Forest Service and Trout Unlimited on projects to remove and clean up tailings in the 9-Mile Valley watershed. 13 mine reclamation projects in the 9 Mile Valley focused over $2.4 million cleaning up toxic sites and removing tailings to allow streams to reconnect and fish to get back to their spawning grounds.


For the past decade, Montanans have worked together to hash out a lasting solution for our public lands in the Blackfoot and Clearwater valleys. It’s a project that ensures public lands access, timber production, and protection of our headwaters. Jean Curtiss has been a long term partner in this collaborative community effort, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate Energy Committee in February by Senator Tester.


Another top priority for Jean is continuing her work with the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, the Missoula County Health Department, the United States Forest Service and others to educate the public on the role of fire on the landscape. Climate change and the threat of mega-fires require a thoughtful, scientific and proactive approach toward wildfire mitigation, especially along the rural-urban interface in the county. Jean believes controlled burns and partnerships with our rural fire departments and property owners are an important part of management efforts to protect public health and property – especially given the fact that raging forest fires can have 17 times the particulates of a controlled burn.


“Jean grew up in the Swan Valley, where she learned first-hand the importance of a healthy working landscape in the life of our community. She has been a strong supporter of voluntary land conservation in Missoula County from the beginning of her career in public service.  Jean has consistently given effective voice to the support and nurture of the public-private partnerships so critical to protecting the river corridors, agricultural lands, recreational opportunities, and majestic beauty that make Missoula County a wonderful place to live, work, and raise our families.”

-Greg Tollefson, long-time Missoula conservationist and outdoor writer