Westslope cutthroat trout, brown trout and rainbow trout will be kept out of irrigation diversions and remain in the stream when fish screens are installed on diversions in Lolo Creek and the West Fork of the Bitterroot River. These projects are two of 11 that recently received funding by the Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission through the Future Fisheries Improvement Program (FFIP). Approximately $510,225 in funding was approved to improve Montana fisheries.
The fisheries improvements include restoration of streams to a natural condition, installing fish screens to keep fish out of irrigation diversions, increasing flow to streams, decommissioning roads near streams, improving fish passage, dam spillway repair and more. Projects will help both native and non-native fish, including bull trout, westslope and Yellowstone cutthroat trout, Arctic grayling, brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and yellow perch.
This year’s funding was matched by more than $2.2 million from outside sources. Watershed groups, governmental agencies, landowners and others submitted a total of 12 proposed projects. The approved projects are located across Montana, including five that are west and six that are east of the Continental Divide.
Applications for the FFIP winter-cycle grants are due Nov. 30, 2019, to FWP’s Fisheries Management Bureau. Application forms are available on FWP’s website, at FWP regional offices and at the headquarters in Helena.
Any individual or group with a project designed to restore or enhance habitat for wild or native fish may apply for FFIP funding. Applicants are encouraged to work with local FWP fisheries biologists. Landowners and other project partners usually share project costs, extending FFIP dollars.
More information and FFIP applications are available on FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov. Select the Fish & Wildlife tab, choose Habitat, then Fish and scroll down to find the link to the Future Fisheries Improvement Program.
Approved FFIP projects
- Lolo Ditch fish screen (Missoula County, located on Lolo Creek, tributary to the Bitterroot River)
- Miller Creek restoration and sediment reduction (Missoula County, tributary to the Bitterroot River)
- Morrell Creek decommissioning and revegetation (Powell County, tributary to the Clearwater River)
- Nevada Creek phase 3B restoration (Powell County, tributary to the middle Blackfoot River)
- West Fork Bitterroot Wilson Ditch fish screen (Ravalli County, tributary to the Bitterroot River)
- Beaver Creek Upper Missouri channel reconstruction (Lewis and Clark County, tributary to the Missouri River)
- Sevenmile Creek restoration phase 2 (Lewis and Clark County, tributary to Tenmile Creek)
- Musselshell River McCleary channel restoration (Musselshell County, tributary to Missouri River)
Miles City Area
- Haughian Bass Reservoir spillway repair (Custer County, in the Cheery Creek drainage)
- French Creek channel reconstruction (Deer Lodge County, tributary to Deep Creek and the Big Hole River)
- Reese Creek instream flow supplement (Park County, tributary to Yellowstone River)