By Kelley Willett
A local bank is helping bring down a dam near Missoula, Montana.
Through the partnership and generosity of Stockman Bank, Montana Trout Unlimited (MTU) received a $10,000 contribution to help with the dam removal on Rattlesnake Creek. The money, along with $10,000 from the local WestSlope Trout Unlimited chapter, provides early community support for this $1M project, which will allow Rattlesnake Creek to flow freely for the first time in more than 100 years.
Removing the Rattlesnake dam will improve fish passage for wild and native trout, including federally endangered bull trout. Indeed, one definition of the word Missoula is from the Salish meaning “place with bull trout,” referring specifically to the confluence of the Rattlesnake Creek and the Clark Fork of the Columbia River.
However this project will not only benefit fish, it will also be great for the Missoulians and visitors who recreate on and along this unique, pristine waterway that starts in the wilderness and runs into downtown.
“There are few places in the country that boast a world-class fishery in the heart of the city, and Stockman Bank recognizes that supporting conservation in our own backyard helps make Missoula a draw for businesses, students and visitors, as well as a top notch place to live and raise our families,” said Bob Burns, Missoula Market President at Stockman Bank.
The Rattlesnake Creek corridor offers excellent recreational opportunities, from mountain biking to bird watching, picnicking, angling and kayaking, and the dam removal project will include increasing public space, and even alleviating some of the bike/pedestrian conflicts on existing trails.
Dr. David Brooks, executive director at MTU, remarked, “We are very grateful to Stockman Bank for investing in us and Missoula. Our hope is that others are inspired to match the $10,000 Stockman Bank contribution.”
For more information about Montana Trout Unlimited go to www.montanatu.org.
Kelley Willett is the development director for Montana Trout Unlimited.