Friday, November 4, 2011

The "Last Best River In the Last Best Place" Is Today Even Better...

thanks to Montana's Future Fisheries program. Since 2006 more than 32 miles of the Big Hole River and tributary streams—including Bryant, Swamp, LaMarche, Rock, Big Lake, South Fork Big Swamp, Fishtrap, Berry and Deep creeks—have been or will be restored or protected by the projects.

Projects have included riparian fencing to protect stream banks, stream-channel restoration, and the restoration of riparian areas by planting native grasses and shrubs. In addition, restoration workers installed fish ladders to allow fish passage and constructed additional pools in the river to improve grayling habitat, fashioned hardened cattle crossings, laid pipelines, installed water-measuring devices, and built solar paneled stock-water wells and stock-watering areas. The new stock-watering areas are designed to encourage grazing away from the stream to protect stream-side vegetation and to improve late-summer flows critical for fish survival.

Most of the work is taking place on lands owned by ranchers participating in the nation's largest federally approved Conservation Candidate Agreement with Assurances program. Approved by FWP and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services in 2006, the Big Hole River CCAA includes 32 local landowners with 152,139 acres of private land and 6,030 acres of state land enrolled.

For the rest of the story, work that is ongoing all across the state go to http://fwp.mt.gov/habitat/futureFisheries/

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