In anticipation of another drought year, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is providing a special funding opportunity for stream-flow enhancement projects through the Future Fisheries Improvement Project program.
"As was the case last year, our mountain snow pack is presently below average throughout most of Montana, making it likely that we will be faced with a continuing drought and low stream flows during the upcoming summer," said Glenn Phillips, FWP habitat protection bureau chief.
Projects that could qualify for this funding might, for example, replace a surface diversion with a well, improve the efficiency of an irrigation system with the water savings left in-stream, or dedicate water to in-stream use through a lease agreement, Phillips said. Projects should result in significant benefits to fisheries on a long-term basis and water must stay in-stream over a significant length of the river or stream. FWP and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation staff will work with successful applicants to ensure that water rights dedicated to in-stream use are protected.
The deadline to apply for this funding is April 1. The Future Fisheries Review Panel will evaluate proposals on April 10. Projects recommended for funding by the review panel will be considered for final approval by the FWP Commission on April 17.
Applicants are encouraged to coordinate a project with the FWP fisheries biologist in the area. Future Fisheries application forms, and information describing the program, are available on the FWP web page at fwp.state.mt.us under Fishing.
The Future Fisheries Improvement Program’s regular deadlines of July 1 and January 1 offer additional opportunities for project funding.