HELENA – Arctic grayling in Upper Red Rock Lake will have a better chance of surviving the winter when a project is completed to increase the amount of oxygen in the water. Westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout will be kept in the Blackfoot River and out of an irrigation ditch when a diversion is upgraded and a fish screen is installed to separate diverted water from the fish. These projects are two of 11 that recently received funding by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission through the Future Fisheries Improvement Program (FFIP). Approximately $340,000 in funding was approved to improve Montana fisheries.
The fisheries improvements include restoration of streams to a natural condition, stream habitat installation, restoring streambanks, improving grazing management, keeping fish out of irrigation diversions and more. Projects will help both native and non-native fish, including Arctic grayling, bull trout, mountain whitefish, westslope cutthroat trout, Yellowstone cutthroat trout, brook trout, brown trout and rainbow trout.
This year’s funding was matched by $1.6 million from outside sources. Watershed organizations, governmental agencies, nonprofits and others submitted a total of 13 proposed projects. Eleven projects were approved across Montana, including six that are west and five that are east of the Continental Divide.
Applications for the FFIP summer-cycle grants are due May 15, 2022, to FWP’s Fish Habitat Bureau. Application forms are available on FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov/FFIP or at FWP offices.
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/FFIP.
Approved FFIP projects
- Browns Gulch fish screen (Silver Bow County)
- Upper French Gulch fish passage and restoration (Deer Lodge County)
- Upper Ruby River restoration project phase 2 (Madison County)
- Upper Red Rock Lake overwinter habitat (Beaverhead County)
- Flint Creek riparian restoration phase 2 (Granite County)
- Blackfoot River fish screen (Powell County)
- Murphy Spring Creek instream flow restoration renewal (Powell County)
- Nevada Creek restoration project phase 5 (Powell County)
- Mill Creek 5 Bar 6 restoration project (Park County)
- Shields River Chadborne Diversion retrofit (Park County)
- East Fork Lolo and Lost Park creeks instream habitat enhancement (Missoula County)
- Johnson Creek fish screen (Missoula County)