Development, Improvements, and Enhancements
The Future Fisheries Improvement Program is proposing to provide partial funding for a project calling for the construction of a siphon where the Spokane irrigation canal crosses Swamp Creek. The intent of this project is to restore connectivity between the Big Hole River and Swamp Creek for migratory fish, especially Arctic grayling, a species of special concern in Montana. Additionally, the project would improve irrigation efficiency and management, resulting in enhanced in-stream flow for approximately 6 miles downstream of the canal. The Spokane Canal is a large ditch (about 125 cubic feet per second) that diverts water from the Big Hole River. Currently, flow from the canal merges with Swamp Creek, allowing canal water to freely mix with Swamp Creek. A weir with check boards located on Swamp Creek is then used to allocate water down channel or down canal. The installation of a siphon would maintain a separation of canal and creek water and would allow migrating fish to pass unimpeded in Swamp Creek. The project site is located approximately 3 miles west of the town of Wisdom in Beaverhead County.