Project Gallery

A stream’s health is highly dependent on the condition of the riparian area surrounding it.  BBCTU has restored over 120 miles of riparian habitat along the banks of 64 streams in the Blackfoot watershed. Volunteers are an important part of this work and we involve students as much as possible

Here’s one of our first efforts, along Chamberlain Creek in the Garnet range.  Done 20 years ago, the drainage today is filled with mature, lush plant life and has become prime cutthroat spawning waters.

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Volunteers on Ashby

Over 25% of the wetlands in the Blackfoot Valley have been drained.  In many cases restoration is as simple as filling drainage ditches and letting natural run-off take its course.  The Blackfoot Restoration Partners have restored over 3,000 acres of wetlands in the valley to date.

Below are two examples of degraded wetlands restored to their former state by BBCTU working with its partners and the landowners.

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Grazing management is a key component of a viable watershed restoration program.  Determining pasture capacities, fencing requirements, and sufficient water for stock are all part of an effective grazing management plan.

BBCTU incorporates all of these elements into our stream restoration efforts.  Throughout the valley, we’ve installed solar-powered wells filling stock tanks shared by multiple pastures, helped install fencing to accommodate rotational systems, and the number of acres under a grazing management plan is 70,000.

Here’s some samples of our work:

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Stock tank

BCTU’s ongoing efforts to eliminate barriers to fish passage have opened up over 700 miles of tributaries to spawning fish.  For more information on individual projects, please check out the PDFs on our Fish Passage Page.

Irrigation diversions are an important component of agriculture in the Blackfoot valley, but without careful design, they can seriously impact and in some cases totally eliminate trout spawning within a tributary.

BBCTU has upgraded 37 diversions on key tributaries with new gear that increases efficiency of water usage, eliminates fish entrapment, and reduces landowner labor in maintaining the diversion.

A variety of devices have been deployed depending on the specifics of the site.  Head over to the Fish Screening Page for some examples of our work.

Conversion from flood to sprinkler irrigation coupled with stream channel restoration often results in increased stream flows that benefit migratory trout.  Additionally, instream water leases ensure maintaining life-sustaining flows in drought years.

BBCTU has established instream water leases on 8 key tributaries and water conveyance on 41 tributaries which equates to over 49 cubic feet per second or almost 23,000 gallons per minute being conserved for instream flows.

Here’s an example of water conservation in action.  Historically dewatered by irrigation diversions, this Blackfoot tributary sprang back to life after converting the upstream pastures from flood irrigation to pivot irrigation.

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Working with our partners and committed volunteers, each year we spend time watering, weeding and maintaining planted shrubs and trees.

BBCTU has instituted an ongoing fish/screen irrigation diversion maintenance program to ensure the gains achieved by our work continue to produce desired results while reducing landowner maintenance obligations.

BBCTU helps support Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks extensive fish and habitat inventory work.  Each year FWP biologists conduct ongoing fish population, water temperature and instream habitat studies in project tributaries, helping us to develop project objectives and follow up with post-project monitoring trends.

As part of its outreach program, BBCTU leads and coordinates dozens of tours in the Blackfoot watershed every year for a wide variety of citizen and student groups.

Educational field days are an important component of our projects and local school kids are often involved with collecting and installing willow cuttings and learning about native trout and their habitat requirements.  They also get to interact with landowners, contractors and the design team.

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BBCTU has helped restore over 100 miles of degraded streams on 48 tributaries of the Blackfoot River.  Natural stream morphology is restored through careful analysis of width, depth, flow, and overall shape of the stream bed.  We then incorporate riparian revegetation and grazing management plans to ensure continued stream health in the future.

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Click on a photo below to enlarge it

Fish Passage
Fish Passage
Fish Screens
Fish Screens
Grazing Management
Grazing Management
Riparian Restoration
Riparian Restoration
Stream Restoration
Stream Restoration
Water Conservation
Water Conservation
Wetland Restoration
Wetland Restoration