On Friday, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Beaverhead Watershed Committee released an environmental assessment (EA) for a proposal to restore habitat at Poindexter Slough in the Dillon area.
The proposal involves the replacement of existing irrigation infrastructure, modification of channel dimensions, and other measures to improve fisheries habitat and restore natural processes of habitat formation and maintenance.
Poindexter Slough has seen a steady decline in fishery and angler use over the past 12 years. While traditionally fed largely by groundwater, it now relies on increasing amounts of diverted Beaverhead River water due to changes in irrigation. This diverted Beaverhead River water carries and deposits a large amount of fine sediment into Poindexter Slough degrading the fish habitat. In addition to the declines in fish abundance and angler use, aquatic insect habitat has been reduced as the streambed has been covered by fine sediment.
FWP expects this project to result in a return to fish abundances and levels of angler use and satisfaction comparable to pre-sedimentation levels.
For more information, the full EA can be found at:
The public can make comments on the EA until 5 p.m. on February 17 via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to Matt Jaeger, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 730 ½ N. Montana, Dillon, MT 59725.
An informational meeting will be held in Dillon at the Search and Rescue building on January 28 at 6 pm.