Rolling Rivers Trailers
Loaded with several hundred pounds of sand and a self-contained tank for pumping and re-circulating water, bright blue utility trailers are ready to provide water education to Montanans. The Rolling River is a five by ten foot utility trailer with a six-inch deep trailer bed that is filled with sand (actually recycled plastic granules). A meandering river or two is scooped out running from one end to the other. Small figures of cows, horses, houses, a barn, corral and a parking lot with cars and farm equipment placed on top, form a simulated village. Trees, foliage and a few rocks line the riverbank. When water is turned on at the top of the watershed, it flows through the river and can be used to demonstrate a variety of water lessons including:
- River energy: Sprinkle a handful of alluvium at the top of the "watershed" and watch it be carried along in the water.
- Riparian areas:With the vegetation in place along the riverbank, the banks remain stable. Remove some of the foliage, and erosion occurs as water cuts into the banks. Turn the water on full force as in a flood situation and the riverbank begins to break down and collapses even faster. This demonstrates the principles of healthy versus unhealthy riparian areas.
- Non-point pollution: Rain (from a sprinkling can) on the parking lot above the river demonstrates how pollution is carried into streams.
- Effects of diversion: Using PVC pipe to create irrigation ditches slows down the speed of the water. Stopping the water entirely by creating a dam effects other changes.
The Rolling Rivers Trailers were designed and initially used in Colorado.
The Montana program is based on a very successful effort in New Mexico. The Montana Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) purchased the trailers under a grant from the Bureau of Reclamation.
- Conservation District Bureau News
- Next Round of 223 Applications Mini Ed Grants and District Development due April 26, 2017.
Conservation District Bureau
Conservation District Specialists
Karl Christians, 406-444-3022
Scott Kaiser, 406-232-6359
Stream Permitting Coordinator
Bob Flesher 406-444-4340
Oral History Progam & 223 Grant Specialist
Linda Brander, 406-444-0520
Rangeland Resources Program Coordinator
Stacey Barta, 406-444-6619
Duane Claypool, 406-232-6359