Dylan DesRosier’s home has shaped his identity. He describes the town of East Glacier, Montana, as a unique place where differences in ecosystems and cultures meet. To the west of town, Glacier National Park and the Rocky Mountains stretch to the Pacific Ocean. To the east, the Great Plains lay flat for miles. The town is also on the Blackfeet Reservation, bringing together natives and non-natives, local people and newcomers.
With a deep sense of place, Dylan says he likes standing on the land and knowing that his grandmother’s grandmother 30 generations back might have stood in the same place. With an interest in exploring where culture and resources clash, Dylan came to UM for a bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies and Environmental Studies with a minor in Wilderness Studies.
During his last semester of that undergrad experience, Dylan took Professor Martin Nie’s natural resource policy class. Through Nie, Dylan discovered he could accomplish change by delving into the policy issues that matter to him. Nie persuaded Dylan that the best way to do that was through a master’s degree at the College of Forestry and Conservation.
Dylan created a graduate curriculum that met his desire to learn about both policy, law, and the resource issue he cares most about: water. He took several classes at the UM Law School and designed a thesis looking at all 30 federally recognized tribal water rights settlements. He focused on the extent that each tribal water rights settlement addressed instream flows.
“The history of prior appropriation encourages consumptive uses of water but does little to incentivize water conservation,” says Dylan about the struggle to balance the competing interests of water users. One of his thesis findings is that protecting instream flows in a future of changing water supplies and availability is going to be increasingly important, not only for tribal nations, but for states as well.
The Nature Conservancy recently hired Dylan to return home to East Glacier as a land protection specialist. He’ll get to implement what he’s learned about natural resource policy, management, and conflict resolution and stay in the place he loves.
Dylan is graduating with a master’s of science in Resource Conservation. As a graduate student at UM he was a TA for four semesters for Professor Martin Nie’s NRSM 422 class; was a Sloan Indigenous Graduate Program Scholar, and was a Wyss Scholar. He also spent a semester in the Law School’s Land Use Law Clinic.