TU's Montana Water Project's stream flow restoration work in the Blackfoot River basin is community-based restoration at its best. Our presence and personal relationships with landowners in the basin stretch back nearly 20 years. TU founded and has helped nurture the Blackfoot River's watershed group, the Blackfoot Challenge, which has now achieved national prominence for its landscape-scale restoration successes. TU's strong working partnerships with fisheries and hydrology professionals span three states and two federal agencies. These ingredients have combined to make the Blackfoot River basin a place where the Montana Water Project has been able to carry out a sustained and successful water leasing program that has had a measurable impact in restoring viable native fish populations and increasing aquatic integrity.
In 2005, TU completed three more stream flow restoration projects on key tributaries to the Blackfoot: Nevada Spring Creek, Wasson Creek, and Rock Creek. The next two years should see several other Blackfoot projects come to completion. We are also pursuing several water leasing opportunities in the Big Hole River, which is the focus of habitat and stream flow restoration efforts to prevent the extinction of the imperiled arctic grayling native to this drainage.
In addition to continuing our stream restoration projects through water leasing, in the next two years we hope to achieve dam re-operations on two important Montana rivers, the Beaverhead and the Sun. Both are sites of Bureau of Reclamation dams serving large irrigation districts. Working with the Bureau to change the way that these dams are managed would substantially increase the health of the rivers below them by restoring a more natural function to the river. On the Sun River in particular, TU has built a credible presence through several years of work with irrigators and the local watershed group in the basin. The hydrologic and irrigation water management analysis that have been undertaken have created an opportunity to increase flows and provide periodic channel maintenance flows through our sustained dialogue with the affected irrigation districts.
Montana Water Project Reports:
For more information contact:
Montana Water Project
321 E Main St #411
Bozeman, MT 59715
Laura Ziemer, Director, Montana Water Project
Contact Laura Ziemer
Stan Bradshaw, Counsel, Montana Water Project
Contact Stan Bradshaw
Julie Eaton, Program Administrator
Contact Julie Eaton