Pure westslope cutthroat trout will be protected in upper Doolittle Creek (near Wisdom), expanding their habitat from one to 11 miles of stream. Habitat structures will be added to Reser Reservoir (near Chinook) during a planned drawdown, providing additional spawning and rearing habitat for warmwater species. These projects are two of 10 that recently received funding by the Fish & Wildlife Commission through the Future Fisheries Improvement Program (FFIP). Approximately $277,575 in funding was approved to improve Montana fisheries.
The fisheries improvements include restoration of streams to a natural condition, installing fish barriers to isolate important native populations, decommissioning roads near streams, improving fish passage, reservoir habitat placement, screening fish out of irrigation diversions, and more. Projects will help both native and non-native fish, including bull trout, westslope and Yellowstone cutthroat trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, bluegill, black crappie, yellow perch, channel catfish, and largemouth bass.
This year’s funding was matched by $2.15 million from outside sources. Watershed groups, governmental agencies, and others submitted a total of 12 proposed projects. The approved projects are located across Montana, including five that are west and five that are east of the Continental Divide.
Applications for the FFIP summer-cycle grants are due May 31, 2020, 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, scroll down to find the link to the Future Fisheries Improvement Program.
Approved FFIP projects
- Boles Creek fish screen and passage (Missoula County, tributary to Placid Lake)
- Lee and West Fork Lolo Creeks fish passage improvement & decommissioning (Missoula County, tributary to Lolo Creek)
- Nevada Creek phase 4 restoration (Powell County, tributary to Nevada Creek Reservoir)
- Wheelbarrow Creek Threemile fish passage (Ravalli County, tributary to Grayhorse Creek)
- Reser Reservoir dam reconstruction and fish habitat improvement (Blaine County)
- Doolittle Creek fish barrier (Beaverhead County, tributary to the Big Hole River)
- Cottonwood Creek fish barrier (Beaverhead County., tributary to Blacktail Deer Creek)
- O’Neil Creek culvert replacement (Powell County, tributary to the Clark Fork River)
- Eagle Creek Yellowstone cutthroat trout connectivity (Park County, tributary to the Yellowstone River)
- Wall Creek fish barrier supplement (Madison County, tributary to the Madison River)