Sherry Meador, Board Chair for the Upper Missouri Watershed Alliance (UMOWA), sheds light on their organization’s conservation mission.

Sherry helps us understand how the Upper Missouri River watershed is threatened by a silent invasion of noxious weeds.. weeds that degrade the water quality, reduce native biological diversity, and negatively impact the population of many wild species like elk, deer, swans, variety of ducks, other plants, and of course our fish.

We discover how we can help prevent the spread of these invasive weeds, how we can contribute to the water and streambanks restoration projects, and how we can get involved in ways we can and become more aware of the overall health of this river.

There’s more to it than I could describe so here’s Sherry from to enlighten us about it.


Click below and listen to the Podcast about Upper Missouri Watershed Alliance with Sherry Meador:

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(Read the Full Transcript at the bottom of this Blog Post)


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Upper Missouri Watershed Alliance Show Notes with Sherry Meador

02:50 – Sherry and I connected through John Smigaj from Trxstle. John was on the podcast at WFS 310.

03:30 – Sherry had been involved with the noxious weed project on the Smith River. UMOWA board started in 2014 and Sherry joined 6 years ago.

04:50 – The Missouri River is the longest river in the country. It starts at 3 forks which is about 75 miles upriver from the dams of Helena down to the great falls but they’re primarily focused on the primary fishing area between Holter Dam and Cascade.

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08:55 – UMOWA was established by a group of guides and fly fishers. It was established to get baseline data and to get the river back to the high quality or what was considered a good level. They collect water quality samples 3 times a year.


10:10 – They will have the river’s health summary report available on their website for us to see this summer

11:25 – They’re done a couple of restoration projects on banks where they’re trying to get the plants back there to get less erosion – read more here

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11:40 – They also work on noxious weeds which are on the land but goes up to the habitat. They work with land owners by the river, trying to get them involved in this project. Noxious weeds are silent invasive and a threat to the watershed. Read more about this project here

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12:30 – They educate anglers about the importance of washing their boat and waders to prevent spreading invasive species along the river. They provide boat washing stations that are open to the public and at no charge.

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13:30 – The highest amount of angler days recorded was 180,000 a year

16:20 – UMOWA is an all-volunteer board. They have 8 members. John Smigaj is also one of them.

16:30 – UMOWA is in need of enough funding. They are to the point of getting the to the next level because there’s so much integration they need to do with the Department of Environmental Quality and Dept. of Natural Resources.

19:00 – You can help UMOWA’s mission by checking their website to understand more about their projects, spreading the word about their mission, and signing up for their newsletter.

21:40 – Sherry kind of retired as an attorney. For the past 5 years, she hasn’t been working much as an attorney and into some other projects. She describes what her job looked like when she was practicing law.

26:10 – You can also support Montana Watershed Coordination Council – they are doing similar work on watersheds in Montana. UMOWA works with Pat Barnes from Trout Unlimited. Sun River Water Shed Group is a smaller watershed group but also doing some great work out there.

28:40 – They also do some river clean-up where everybody can also volunteer. They have a big event on August 20th this year at the New Brewery in Craig. There’s going to be a raffle too where people can win a Ro drift boat.

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You can find UMOWA on Instagram @umowaorg

Visit their website at

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Related Podcast Episodes

WFS 266 – The Boundary Waters in Minnesota with Riverhorse Nakadate

Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below


Upper Missouri Conclusion with Sherry Meador

So there you go..

If you want to take part in UMOWA’s movement, you can reach out to them via website at – they always welcome new ideas and volunteers.

Conservation topics may not always be the most interesting topics out there but it should be our responsibility as anglers to be aware of the things that destroy our rivers and their habitats. So if you want to enjoy these rivers at their best quality, there are many ways to contribute like spreading the word, donating, volunteering, or at the least, be a more disciplined angler – keep the fish wet, wash your boats and your waders after use.