Community and Planning Services - Streamside Protection Program
Healthy rivers and streams are valuable economic,
ecological, and cultural resources appreciated by Missoula County
residents and visitors alike. Healthy rivers sustain fisheries,
streamside wildlife habitat, drinking water, agricultural land,
recreation opportunities and more. Missoula County residents,
landowners, and interest groups work hard to care for our iconic
waterways and frequently urge public officials to support the
protection, restoration, and enhancement of our water resources and the
streamside riparian areas that sustain them.
In order to support and facilitate such efforts, the county partners with landowners, watershed groups, community groups, local water resource experts, technical experts, agency partners, and others. Together, we work to assess priority issues, to identify opportunities to address problems, and to facilitate good stewardship and policy for protection of our water resources.
Through our Streamside Protection Program and our partners, Missoula County is engaged in efforts to:
Promote stewardship of streamside lands, riparian areas and water resources,
Obtain and distribute technical information and expert recommendations about stream and riparian protection, enhancement and restoration,
Support watershed and community groups working to assess and address stream and water resource issues in their communities,
Provide information on federal, state and local policy and programs that relates to water resource protection.
Landowners and communities who live near streams, lakes or wetlands share an important responsibility in influencing the health of this vital resource. By protecting, restoring or enhancing the water body’s natural functions, landowners can encourage natural processes and see both short-term and long-term benefits of river health.
A number of resources are available for landowners who are looking for ideas, technical support, or funding assistance for stream or riparian protection on their land. See Resources for Property Owners for current information.
Landowners faced with tough land and water management challenges often find ways to solve problems and improve the resource. Missoula County would like to thank them, and learn how they do it. Check out our Stewardship Award Program to meet some of these land stewards.
- Technical information and expert recommendations
Missoula County works with a Technical Advisory Committee made up of local and regional scientists and resource managers. The committee convened in 2008 with the goal of providing recommendations for the County’s streamside protection work. Read their 2010 Recommendations Report here.
Meet committee members and learn more about their work here. The committee’s major efforts wrapped up with the completion of their recommendations for the Streamside Protection Program, though committee members continue to support and advise County efforts.
- A broad array of technical and scientific literature exists
examining stream and riparian health and restoration. View our
Research and analyses are available for many Missoula County watersheds. Find your local stream or watershed studies here.
Aquatic and riparian resource mapping:
- Missoula County has compiled geographic information about the county’s streams, lakes, riparian areas, floodplains, and wetlands through the PLACE project. View the aquatic and riparian data in the Conservation Resource Atlas. More data is included as it becomes available—check back or contact Rural Initiatives for information on future updates.
2009 Water Quality District study: Channel Migration on the Clark Fork River between Missoula and Huson:
Other channel migration studies around the state:
December 8, 2010 public presentation: Mapping Dynamic Rivers to Understand their History - and Future: A Channel Migration Study of the Clark Fork River between Missoula & Huson:
April 30, 2009 and July 9, 2009 public presentations: Graphically Showing the Natural Movement of a River through Time:
Project Spotlight: Channel Migration Mapping
Missoula County is investigating the concept and applications of river channel migration mapping. River and stream channels move and change seasonally and over time, eroding river banks and creating new channels. Channel migration mapping is a relatively new tool that can help us better understand river movement and predict where rivers may move in the future. This, in turn, can help landowners and communities prevent sometimes costly and potentially catastrophic damage to property, roads, bridges, and structures.
- Stream restoration
Stream restoration is a growing field nationwide and in Missoula County. From small scale stream bank & channel restoration efforts initiated by individual landowners, to multi-million dollar agency-led projects (like Milltown Dam removal and re-development), this region has embraced the benefits of stream restoration work. Such projects are known to provide a number of environmental and public welfare benefits including improved water quality, fisheries, recreation opportunities, and riparian wildlife habitat. Restoration work can also provide significant economic benefits, utilizing private sector restoration contractors and materials.
Currently, Missoula County Rural Initiatives secures and manages funding for several major restoration projects in the Ninemile Creek area. Rural Initiatives is also seeking new projects and opportunities to support restoration work in rural areas—check back or contact Rural Initiatives for information on new projects or funding opportunities.
Restoration workers planning a new stream channel.
Restoration in the news....
Nine Mile Creek Restoration Projects
The Nine Mile Creek watershed is currently a busy place when it comes to mine reclamation and restoration work. Thanks in large part to funding awarded to Missoula County from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), two large-scale restoration projects and three restoration planning projects are currently underway. Trout Unlimited, the Lolo National Forest, and Missoula County partnered to secure funds for these projects from DNRC’s Reclamation and Development Grants Program. Missoula County and partners are awaiting awards for two additional projects currently under review.
In St Louis Creek and Mattie V Creek, work includes removing mine tailings and waste, restoring stream channels, and planting native vegetation. Additionally, detailed restoration plans and design are being developed for Kennedy Creek, Twin Creek, and the Housum Placer mine site on the mainstem of Nine Mile Creek. These efforts are part of a larger campaign led by Trout Unlimited to clean up mine waste and restore clean water and healthy fisheries throughout the entire Nine Mile watershed.
Learn more about the active restoration projects:
- Nine Mile Creek Watershed restoration map
- Economic Benefits Fact Sheet, Nine Mile Project
- Mattie V Restoration Project, fact sheet
- St. Louis Creek Restoration Project, fact sheet
to lean more about coordinated reclamation
and restoration efforts throughout the Nine mile Creek Watershed.
- Watershed and community groups
- It's working. Committed citizens and community groups around Missoula County are making a difference. Check out your fellow community members, featured in our Community Spotlight.
Find an active watershed or community group in your area:
- Federal, state, regional and local policy and programs
Water is already the focus of many government agencies and non-governmental organizations. In Missoula County, a number of regulations and policies exist to manage water use, water quality, floodplain development, and modifications in or near streams, to name just a few.
Every legislative session, law makers discuss and consider new laws or revisions to old laws. And every day, agencies and organizations interested in water resources work on current issues, programs, policies and research related to water. By working with our partners to track policy, legislation, and programs, Missoula County maintains updated information and links to helpful resources.
- For information on existing regulations that
apply to stream, wetland and riparian areas in Missoula County,
For DNRC's guide to stream permitting in Montana, click here.
For information on current and recent legislation related to water resource policy can be found here:
- For more information on water-related policy, programs, permitting and
resources, visit our partner agencies and organizations:
STATE, TRIBAL & FEDERAL AGENCIES:
- Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks
- - Aquatic Invasive Species Information & Prevention
- - Aquatic Future Fisheries Program
- Montana Department of Environmental Quality
- - Clean Water Act Information Center
- - Laws and regulations
- MONTANA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY COUNCIL
- - Water Rights in Montana (handbook)
- - A Guide to Montana Water Quality Regulation (handbook)
- CONFEDERATED SALISH AND KOOTENAI TRIBES' NATURAL RESOURCES DEPARTMENT
- - Water Quality Regulatory Program
- - Fisheries Program
- - Shoreline Protection Program
- USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
- - Riparian & floodplain protection
- - Streamside guide
- Governor's Task Force for Riparian Protection: Room To Roam Program
- association of montana floodplain managers
- U.S. Environmental Protection agency
- - Adopt Your Watershed Program
LOCAL & REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS:
- Lolo Watershed Group
- Swan Ecosystem Center
- Clearwater Resource Council
- Blackfoot Challenge
- Bitter Root Water Forum
- Rattlesnake Creek Watershed Group
- Clark Fork River Basin Task Force
- Upper Clark Fork River Basin Steering Committee
- Montana Watershed Coordination Council
- Montana Water Center
- Montana Watercourse
- Montana State University Extension
- University of Montana Watershed Health Clinic
- Clark Fork Coalition
- Missoula County Weed District
- Trout Unlimited
- - Middle Clark Fork Restoration
- - Montana Chapters
Last updated: June 27, 2012