Mattie V Creek has a long history of mining, including historic prospecting and placer mining beginning in the early 1900s. The mines on Mattie V Creek have since been abandoned by the operators and left in an unreclaimed condition. Due to this past mining activity, Mattie V Creek has been heavily altered, especially in the lower reaches near its confluence with Ninemile Creek. Specific problems include piles of dredged material (gravel, large cobbles, etc.), approximately 10 to 15 feet in height, which occupy much of the valley bottom and impede the function of the floodplain. Many of the instream and riparian mine tailings remain unvegetated and contribute large sources of sediment to the creek (Frenchtown Face Environmental Impact Statement, 2002). The creek flows through multiple dredge ponds, is confined to a man made ditch for several hundred feet, and has subsurface flows that create fish barriers. Because of these impacts, the creek lacks a functional connection with the mainstem Ninemile Creek and native fish have been barred from upstream migration for nearly 80 years.
With funding from Missoula County, MT Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, MT Fish Wildlife and Parks, the Lolo National Forest, and private landowners, local consultants collected relevant information for the design process during the summer of 2008 and created an engineered design that re-aligned Mattie V Creek with its historic streamchannel and reconnected it with the mainstem of Ninemile Creek. Implementation began during the summer of 2010, as several local equipment operators re-contoured the hillslopes and floodplain. Overall, contractors removed 12,000 cubic yards of mine waste and reconstructed 400 feet of new stream channel. 4.5 acres of wetlands were also created throughout the dredge pond areas. In the fall of 2010 contractors came back and with the help of Trout Unlimited staff, installed bioengineering structures along newly created streambanks including coir logs and soil lifts. Volunteers from University of Montana and the Westslope Chapter of Trout Unlimited collected native shrub and tree seed to be spread over the floodplain and streambanks this spring.