Restoring the Blackfoot watershed one stream at a time

With spring in the air, it's time to dust off our field gear (or maybe thaw out is more appropriate) and get ready for another productive season working with landowners and our restoration partners implementing projects across the Blackfoot River watershed.

In 2020, we installed a new fish screen near Placid Lake, restored over 7,000 feet of Nevada Creek upstream of the reservoir near Helmville and teamed up with the US Forest Service on several projects benefiting Morrell Creek and Cottonwood Creek just north of Seeley Lake. As challenging as 2020 was, we had one of our most productive project seasons to date.

This year, our focus will be in the upper Blackfoot watershed near Lincoln on an important native trout stream – Poorman Creek. This high priority stream supports westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout and has strong potential to increase populations of trout in the upper Blackfoot River. We have two important projects planned that will benefit native trout, improve instream habitat and reconnect migratory corridors.

Working with Lewis & Clark County, US Forest Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) we will upgrade an undersized culvert that restricts fish passage and creates ongoing road maintenance problems by installing a new bridge. Radio telemetry studies throughout the watershed have documented trout swimming over 90 miles to get to their spawning areas, so ensuring habitat is connected is an important part of our mission.

The second project is a large stream restoration project that will benefit close to two miles of habitat on the lower reaches of Poorman Creek. Historic impacts have degraded the stream channel and data from measuring bank erosion rates shows that over 400 tons of dirt erodes from stream banks every year. This sediment smothers spawning gravels which impacts the survival rates of young trout.

These chronic issues will be addressed by implementing this project and we look forward to working with local contractors, schools and volunteers to see this project completed later this fall. And we are grateful for all the organizations and agencies that have stepped up to allow us to move forward with this work including: private landowners, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, FWP, USFWS, Montana Trout Unlimited and many other partners.

ZOOM in June! Please plan to tune in to our ZOOM update on project accomplishments and a preview of 2021 plans. To be notified of specifics, volunteer opportunities and chapter news find us on Facebook or send an email to Ryen Neudecker @ We are also planning an online auction with lots of wonderful donations to raise private dollars to keep our program moving forward.

BBCTU truly appreciates all of your support and interest.


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