1: an ancient Gealic 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 technology to help conservation districts, watershed groups, conservation nonprofits, agencies, and individuals work together to build durable, locally inspired solutions to water-related problems.

4CF created Gilly, a non-profit software platform, to automate the application and approval process for 310 Joint Permit Applications. Gilly provides a robust data collection system for inputting permits (current and historic) and gives ready access to this information, streamlining the permit process and illustrating the impacts that proposed and past permits have on river systems.

Our Vision

Currently, 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 quantity, climate, and population changes in our watersheds.

At 4CF, we worked with the Gallatin Conservation District to build 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 coordinate water use, restoration, and preservation at the watershed level. The map analysis tool illustrates permit data in a geolocation context.

Long Term Software Goals



4CF envisions a platform that coordinates 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:

  • A user-friendly interface that is easy-to-use, practical, and widely adopted
  • A secure platform where individual users submit applications and administrators manage permit forms and the permit process
  • Automated 310 inspection and complaint forms
  • A map-centric dashboard which allows for viewing multiple layers of information and gathering insights on different geospatial areas
  • The ability to query the database system to easily fulfill reporting requirements




  • Created a user-friendly, secure platform for managing permit applications

  • 310 Joint Permit application available online

  • Increased ease of use for the applicant

  • Streamlined CD staff time


  • Permit data saved and searchable

  • Historic permit data saved and and searchable

  • Additional map layers (such as floodplain, wetland, and channel migration areas) relevant to analyzing water systems

  • Permit data mapped and combined with additional map layers

  • View permits in a defined section of river

  • Filter permits by name, address, project type


  • Internal comment integration

  • Mobile device improvements

  • Add additional base layers to map

  • User generated layers for map

  • Support for other permit types

  • Agency Access

  • Exporting data to spreadsheets

  • Help integration

  • Private sector enhancements (templates, user management, permit management)

  • Advanced query and data visualization tools

Meet The Founders

Ephie Risho

Project director

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.

Karen Filipovich

Program oversight and community outreach

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.

Tess Parker

Outreach Coordinator

Tess develops educational materials, publishes the Streamline newsletter, and leads Gilly training sessions. Tess graduated from the University of Montana with a B.A. in Organizational Communication and has experience as a Big Sky Watershed Corps member, a program coordinator for the Gallatin Watershed Council, and leading a trail crew. She is passionate about serving her community and encouraging stewardship of Montana's natural resources.

Sharon Brodie

Four corners foundation, president

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.

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A Software Platform that Guides River Restoration and Preservation



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