Brown trout and rainbow trout will have increased access to habitat when 12 side channels are reconnected to the Bighorn River below Yellowtail Dam. Livestock can be managed and lake habitat for largemouth bass and yellow perch can be improved when fencing is installed on Buer Pond near Scobey. These projects are two of eight that recently received funding by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission through the Future Fisheries Improvement Program (FFIP). Approximately $240,000 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, protecting critical habitat, improving fish passage and more. Projects will help both native and non-native fish, including mountain whitefish, westslope cutthroat trout, Yellowstone cutthroat trout, brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, longnose and white suckers, longnose dace, channel catfish, largemouth bass and yellow perch.
This year’s funding was matched by $950,000 from outside sources. Watershed organizations, sportsmen’s groups, landowners, governmental agencies, and nonprofits submitted a total of nine proposed projects. Eight projects were approved across Montana, including one that is west and seven that are east of the Continental Divide.
Applications for the FFIP winter-cycle grants are due Nov. 15, 2022, to FWP’s Fish Habitat Bureau. Application forms are available on FWP’s website, 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 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
- Wilson Creek stream and floodplain restoration (Gallatin County)
- Bryant Creek fish barrier (Beaverhead County)
- Bighorn River side channel reactivation (Bighorn County)
- Middle Fork Judith road decommission and rehab (Judith Basin County)
- Mill Creek fish barrier supplement (Park County)
- Miller Creek restoration MPG (Missoula County)
- Buer Pond fencing (Daniels County)
- North Boulder fish passage (Jefferson County)