Stillwater Protective Association

Stillwater Protective Association (SPA) is a grassroots conservation and family agriculture group. We educate and equip ourselves and our community to preserve our rural and agricultural quality of life while encouraging responsible growth.

Stillwater Protective Association holds government agencies and industry accountable to local citizen concerns and encourages development that preserves the agricultural integrity and health of the Stillwater Valley. Since forming in 1975, we have supported local citizens in preserving Stillwater County’s rural and agricultural quality of life.

Our Members Are

  • Protecting our ranchers and farmers from being exploited by the meatpacking industry;
  • Educating the community about planned increases in rail traffic through Stillwater County and possibilities for mitigation;
  • Encouraging responsible development projects that keep the valley a good place to live and work by involving the community in decision-making, respecting the needs of agriculture and other businesses;
  • Preserving open space for wildlife and recreation.
  • We work with local and state officials to encourage responsible growth that respects the valley’s rural and agricultural integrity.

Good Neighbor Agreement

Stillwater Protective Association, Northern Plains Resource Council, Cottonwood Resource Council, and Stillwater Mining Company negotiated and continue to maintain the Good Neighbor Agreement (GNA). It is the only legally binding agreement between citizen groups and a hard-rock mining company in the world. Since 2000, the GNA has promoted socially responsible business practices by:

  • Regular reviews of water quality to maintain the health of the Stillwater
  • River watershed,
    Traffic reduction,
  • Providing for the clean-up of mine waste and other industrial hazards.

By Joining You Can

  • Participate in water sampling and other activities to help us ensure we meet our responsibilities under the Good Neighbor Agreement with Stillwater Mining Company;
  • Help us identify and work on issues of concern in our community;
  • Receive reliable and timely information through newsletters, e-mail alerts, fact sheets, reports, and more;
  • Help assure the continuing success of the Good Neighbor Agreement.


Join us to advocate for clean air and water, family farms and ranches, and responsible development.



Van Wood


Hank Lischer


Edward Barta


Cindy Merriam

Past President

Sandra Joys

Stillwater Technical Committee Representative

Kitty Thomasos

Stillwater Oversight Committee Representatives

John Beers
Kaite Howes

Stillwater Oversight Committee Alternates

Doxey Hatch
Charles Sangmeister
Burt Williams

Northern Plains Board Representatives

Edward Barta
Tom Heyneman

Community Organizer

Check out these upcoming events in your area!​

Soil Crawl – Dryland Vegetables and Orchard

Soil Crawl – Dryland Vegetables..

Join us this summer on a Montana farm or ranch for a soil crawl! Come learn from innovative producers showcasing the practices and principles that help them generate healthy soil, resilient crops and animals, and good food!


Our Team

Michael Skinner

GNA Manager and Community Organizer

Jeanie Alderson, Birney

Past Chair

Emma Kerr-Carpenter, Billings

Affiliate Representatives- Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council

Kris Glenn, Billings

Affiliate Representatives- Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council

John Gayusky, Livingston

Affiliate Representatives- Yellowstone Bend Citizens Council

Joan Kresich, Livingston

Affiliate Representatives- Yellowstone Bend Citizens Council

Tom Heyneman, Fishtail

Affiliate Representatives- Stillwater Protective Association

Edward Barta, Billings

Vice-Chair & Affiliate Representatives - Stillwater Protective Association

Mic Smith, Helena

Affiliate Representatives- Sleeping Giant Citizens Council

Norane Freistadt, Helena

Affiliate Representatives- Sleeping Giant Citizens Council

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