1: an ancient Geallic term for a guide on an expedition in the wilderness or on a river 2: a software platform that guides river restoration and preservation
Changes in water quality, water quantity, climate, and population are putting adverse pressure on watersheds across the West. The Four Corners Foundation (4CF) seeks to address these challenges by providing technological tools that help various groups, agencies, and individuals work together to build durable, locally inspired solutions to water-related problems.
4CF created Gilly, a non-profit software platform, as a solution for automating the collection and approval process for 310 and joint application permit data. Gilly provides a robust data collection system for inputting permits (current and historic) and gives ready access to this information, streamlining the permit process for conservation districts and illustrating the impacts that proposed and past permits have on river systems.
To date, the permitting process and its accompanying impacts are handled on a case by case basis. Gilly makes a more thoughtful and strategic process possible. It enables watershed based decisions that treat rivers and streams as systems and takes into account the effect that individual actions have on the system as a whole. A “systems view” such as this will be needed as we face water quality, climate, and population changes in our watersheds.
At 4CF, we are building a user-friendly system for the Gallatin Watershed that could easily be adopted by conservation districts across Montana. Gilly streamlines the permitting process, gathers and stores the data included in those permits, and makes that data readily available and useful.
In addition to many applicant and administrative features, Gilly includes an interactive map-based tool for visualizing and accessing permit data as well as other pertinent layers to help organizations make educated water decisions for their communities and synchronize use, restoration, and preservation at the watershed level.
This prototype gives a glimpse of how the map analysis tool provides permit data within a geolocation context.
4CF envisions a platform that synchronizes river preservation and restoration on a watershed-wide scale and gives conservation districts, restoration specialists, nonprofit groups, and state agencies the tools they need to make sustainable, well informed, watershed based decisions.
Gilly accomplishes this through:
Create a user-friendly, secure way to manage permit applications
Fill out 310 Joint Permit application online
Ensure ease of use for the applicant
Streamline CD staff time now and in the future
Save and efficiently save and search permit data
Institutionalize historic data.
Current and historic permit data is collected, stored, and mapped
Mapping combines permit data with additional layers of information (such as floodplain, wetland, and channel migration areas) relevant to analyzing water systems
Separate data for individual conservation districts
Lilly believes that good data management is at the core of good water management. She works for the Gallatin Watershed Council, which guides collaborative stewardship of water in the Gallatin Valley for a healthy and productive landscape. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Civil Engineering from Montana State University where her studies focused on soil and water as they apply to agriculture, from irrigation and streams to nutrient cycling and waste management. Lilly believes that we can all find common ground in our shared dependence on clean water and that our efforts to protect our watershed are strongest when we work together. Her vision for managing river restoration on a system-wide scale, as well as her knowledge of the permitting and restoration process, are founding principles of the Gilly platform.
Karen’s career focuses on providing outreach, analytical, and facilitation services to communities struggling to solve natural resource and public health challenges. Her background is in biology, political science, and public policy. Previously, Karen was the Director of Montana Watercourse at Montana State University. She also worked on climate change and energy related research at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Ephie brings an extensive background in software development to the Gilly team. As a UI/UX designer for large and small companies and a wide range of use cases, he has an eye for the end user and the long term needs of the software. His many years of experience as an entrepreneur drive him to get projects moving on a tight budget, with tight deadlines, and in a way that solves real user needs. Ephie ensures that the Gilly software is built to spec and on budget with the biggest possible impact, user friendly, and effective in solving real user needs.
Ms. Brodie’s desire to help non-profit groups work together to solve common problems is the result of many years of frustration with a grant process that asks charitable organizations (and agencies) to work as partners while simultaneously competing against one another for funding. This system creates a “silo syndrome” that is characterized by a lack of shared information, project overlap, and competition for scarce funding resources. Sharon’s position at 4CF has given her the opportunity to address those problems with tools that encourage collaboration, eliminate costly program redundancy, and coordinate work across multiple groups. She stresses that 4CF’s intention with Gilly is not to compete with anyone but to elevate everyone. While others search for a competitive advantage, Ms. Brodie and the board of directors of the Four Corners Foundation search for a cooperative advantage. Their sincere wish is for everyone to succeed.