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Success Stories - Southwest Montana

Big Creek (Park County)

Big Creek Big Creek

Restoration of in-stream flow in lower Big Creek, a tributary to the Yellowstone River. The project involved converting from flood irrigation to a more efficient sprinkler system, creating salvaged water for two in-stream flow leases. The additional in-stream flow improved spawning and rearing habitat for Yellowstone cutthroat trout. The left photo shows the de-watered channel. The right photo shows the channel with restored in-stream flow.

Camp Creek (Ravalli County)

Camp Creek Camp Creek

Restoration of two milles of Camp Creek, a tributary to the East Fork Bitterrrot River located near Sula. The project relocated an existing straightened channel away from U.S. Highway 93 and returned it to the historic meandering channel. The left photo shows the ditched channel next to the highway prior to restoration. The right photo shows the relocated and restored channel. Photos courtesy of Paul Callahan, Land and Water Consulting, Inc.

Duck Creek (Gallatin County)

Duck Creek Duck Creek

Duck Creek fish passage improvement project, located near the town of West Yellowstone. The left photo shows a perched highway culvert creating a fish passage barrier before initiation of project. The right photo shows fish passage enhancement in the form of a rock cascade immediately after completion of the project. This project benefits rainbow trout, brown trout, and mountain whitefish residing in Hebgen Lake.

Emigrant Spring Creek (Park County)

Emigrant Spring Creek Emigrant Spring Creek

Channel restoration of Emigrant Spring Creek, a tributary to the Yellowstone River, located near the community of Emigrant. The left photo shows the over-widened, stagnant and sediment-laden stream channel prior to restoration. The right photo shows the restored channel providing high quality habitat for trout. This project benefits primarily Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

Kolb Spring Creek (Missoula County)

Kolb Spring Creek Kolb Spring Creek

Restoration of a 5,500-foot reach of Kolb Spring Creek, a tributary to the Bitterroot River, located near Lolo. This project called for the restoration of the dimension, pattern and profile of a channelized stream reach to create spawning and rearing habitat and to enhance recruitment of salmonids to the lower Bitterroot River. The left photo shows the channelized spring creek prior to restoration. The right photo shows the meandering restored channel with the abandoned ditched channel converted to a wetland pond complex.

North Fork of Fridley Creek (Park County)

North Fork of Fridley Creek North Fork of Fridley Creek

Restoration of the North Fork of Fridley Creek, a tributary to the Yellowstone River, located near Emigrant. Prior to restoration, this stream was captured by a large irrigation canal, which prevented it from flowing into the Yellowstone River. The project called for restoring connectivity between the stream and river by installing a culvert underneath the canal. The project also involved restoring the riparian corridor and creating salvaged water for in-stream flow. The goal of the project was to enhance recruitment of Yellowstone cutthroat trout and other species of fish to the Yellowstone River. The left photo shows the channel before restoration. The right photo shows the channel after restoration.

Sappington Spring Creek (Gallatin County)

Sappington Spring Creek Sappington Spring Creek

Spawning channel enhancement located on Sappington Spring Creek, a tributary to the Jefferson River. The left photo shows the old outlet of the spring into the Jefferson River, creating a fish passage barrier. The right photo shows newly created outlet to the Jefferson River. This project primarily benefits rainbow trout and brown trout.

Skalkaho Creek Fish Screens (Ravalli County)

Skalkaho Creek Skalkaho Creek

The above photos show self-cleaning fish screens installed on the Ward and Hughes ditches on Skalkaho Creek. Skalkaho Creek is an important tributary to the Bitterroot River located near Hamilton. These screens are preventing westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout from being lost into the irrigation systems and, at the same time, are allowing waters users to irrigate in an unimpeded manner.

Skalkaho Creek at the Hedge Canal Crossing (Ravalli County)

Skalkaho Creek Skalkaho Creek

Installation of a large siphon underneath Skalkaho Creek at the Hedge Canal crossing, located near Hamilton. This siphon separates canal water from creek water and prevents the loss of fish into the irrigation system. The left photo shows Hedge Canal crossing Skalkaho Creek prior to the siphon. The right photo shows the completed siphon. This project benefits westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout.

Upper Willow Creek (Granite County)

Upper Willow Creek Upper Willow Creek

Restoration of a channelized reach of Upper Willow Creek, a tributary to Rock Creek. The left photo shows the channelized stream prior to restoration. The right photo shows the restored channel 1.25 years following construction. This project benefits primarily westslope cutthroat trout and rainbow trout.

Willow Springs Creek (Madison County)

Willow Springs Creek Willow Springs Creek

Channel restoration on Willow Springs Creek, a tributary to the Jefferson River near Waterloo. The goal of this project was to enhance recruitment of juvenile trout, especially rainbow trout, to the Jefferson River. The left photo shows the over-widened and shallow channel before restoration. The right photo shows the restored channel providing excellent spawning and rearing habitat for rainbow trout and brown trout.