Eagle Creek Road Receives Larger Culverts, Benefit to Native Yellowstone Cutthroat
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: July 1, 2020

Gardiner, MT – The Gardiner Ranger District, Custer Gallatin National Forest will begin work on the Eagle Creek Road (#3243)
starting July 13 and extending to approximately mid-August. The Eagle Creek Road is roughly 2.5 miles above Gardiner, off the
Jardine Road. Culvert replacement will take place approximately 3 miles up the Eagle Creek Road. Both Eagle Creek and Davis
Creek have undersized perched culverts that prevent native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout from accessing the upper watershed.
Currently 1.9 miles of Eagle Creek is occupied by Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. By replacing the two undersized culverts
located on upper Eagle Creek and Davis Creek with larger aquatic organism passage (AOP) culverts, secure Yellowstone
Cutthroat Trout habitat would be extended to the upper reaches of the stream to nearly 4.7 miles of native cutthroat trout
stream habitat.

“Geographically, this project is important because Eagle Creek is one of only four Yellowstone River tributaries in the
Gardiner Basin with headwater resident populations of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, secure from competition and
hybridization with nonnative fish,” said Mike Thom, Gardiner District Ranger. “We are thrilled to have this project happening
on the ground this summer. This is a wonderful opportunity to conserve Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout and further build
sustainable populations through partnership efforts.”

The Gardiner Ranger District expects two, approximately 10-day periods where the Eagle Creek Road will be
completely closed to recreational use during the time. The lower portion of Eagle Creek Road will remain open for the first
three miles throughout the project. Once the closure is in place there will be no trailer turn-around. Continual updates on the
project will be posted on the Custer Gallatin National Forest facebook page or by calling the Gardiner Ranger District at 406-
848-7375.

The project is part of ongoing conservation partnership efforts with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, as well as
Yellowstone National Park to conserve native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout populations in the Upper Yellowstone river
drainage. Construction efforts have been coordinated to best minimize impacts to many recreational uses on the Upper Eagle
Creek Road, while still allowing the project to continue.

“We hope to further use the project as a great learning venture about native fish conservation in the community, as
part of the Watershed Warriors Program,” Thom continued. Funding for the project is provided by the U.S. Forest Service,
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Future Fisheries improvement program and by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.