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Removal and Remediation of Elbow Lake Dam--Decision Notice

Decision Notices


FWP and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) proposed to remove the structure known as Elbow Lake Dam on the Clearwater River in Missoula County. As stated in the draft Environmental Assessment (EA), the dam is illegal as it lacks the necessary authorization and accompanying water rights, and it is highly unlikely that those could be obtained in the future. The EA was a mechanism to inform the public of the issues, disclose the environmental impacts of the removal, and discuss the possible measures to remedy noncompliance. The proposed preferred alternative was to use heavy machinery to remove the dam during a low-flow period in the summer of 2020. Based on public feedback and continued discussion among agency staff, FWP and DNRC have decided to defer taking that action for the time being and allow natural processes to degrade the dam. Future maintenance of the dam by private groups or individuals will not be allowed. FWP and DNRC will monitor the structure, and if unauthorized maintenance continues or if the dam still presents unacceptable barriers to fish passage, it will be removed.

Contact Information

Sharon Rose | Region 2 FWP | 3201 Spurgin Rd., Missoula, MT 59804 | 406-542-5540 |