Projects improve Montana fish habitat

Montana Living magazine, fly fishing in montana, future fisheries improvement projects montana living, montana fish wildlife and parks, grants

Montana Future Fisheries Projects restore fish habitat

Montana fish habitat will improve with 10 new fisheries-restoration projects.

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission recently approved approximately $470,000 through the Future Fisheries Program to improve Montana fisheries. Because of this funding, westslope cutthroat trout passage will be improved in the upper Lolo Creek watershed when eight culverts are replaced in Granite Creek.

Rainbow trout and brown trout will be kept in the Prickly Pear Creek 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 are just two out of 10 projects that received Future Fisheries Program funding.

This year's funding was matched by $2.1 million from outside sources. Landowners, watershed organizations, county governments and nonprofits submitted a total of 11 projects. Ten projects were approved, including seven that are west and three that are east of the Continental Divide.

Beyond those in the Lolo Creek watershed and on Prickly Pear Creek, fisheries improvements include restoration of streams to a natural condition, stream habitat installation, restoring streambanks, improving fish passage through culvert and dam removal, keeping fish out of irrigation diversions and more. Projects will help both native and non-native fish, including bull trout, mountain whitefish, westslope cutthroat trout, brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout and Rocky Mountain sculpin.

Applications for the Future Fisheries Program summer-cycle grants are due May 15 and can be submitted to FWP's Fish Habitat Bureau. Application forms are available at 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

Approved Future Fisheries Improvement projects

Great Falls Area
  • Spring Coulee Creek culvert replacement (Power, Teton County)

Helena Area

Little Boulder River restoration (Boulder, Jefferson County)

  • Prickly Pear Creek Simmental fish screen (Helena, Lewis and Clark County)

Missoula Area

  • Flint Creek riparian restoration phase 2B (Hall, Granite County)
  • Granite Creek fish passage (Lolo, Missoula County)
  • McKinley Lake dam removal (Missoula, Missoula County)
  • Nevada Creek restoration phase 6 (Helmville, Powell County)
  • North Burnt Fork Creek fish passage reconnection (Stevensville, Missoula County)
  • O’Brien Creek meadows stream restoration (Lolo, Missoula County)

Thompson Falls Area

  • Bull River riparian function restoration (Heron, Sanders County)

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