1996 Legend

Phillip E. (Phil) Farnes

U.S. Soil Conservation Service

The Water Legend Award honors a dedicated individual who, through time, dedication and hard work, has significantly contributed to water resource activities in Montana. Phil Farnes is the year 1996 awardee.

Born and raised in the Billings / Worden Montana area, Phil earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Montana State University in 1957. Unknowingly, he began his 36 year career with the U.S. Soil Conservation Service (SCS) Snow Survey in Bozeman while still an undergraduate. Phil is a legend when it comes to understanding Montana’s snow and climate — having measured the mountain snowpack for the past 44 years.

Retiring from the SCS – (now the Natural Resources Conservation Service – NRCS) in 1990, Phil established two businesses that keep him very active and in the field.

  • Snowcap Hydrology – consulting in mountain hydrology
  • Snowcap Photos – specializing in outdoor and wildlife photography

He also works with the MSU Dept. of Earth Sciences and the USDA Forestry Sciences Lab on projects that involve “… working with climate data and its relationship to water, wildlife, fish, plants and trees in Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks — Tenderfoot Creek Experimental Forest — and other areas.”

Phil continues to reside in Bozeman MT and is also an active ‘legend’ in the Montana AWRA chapter, having helped arrange the first state meeting in 1984.