Healthy waters: Tributary restoration to help future trout populations in Upper Clark Fork

Volunteers say they want to be good stewards of the environment
Posted at 7:55 PM, Oct 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-28 14:12:34-04

RACETRACK - While much work is being done to clean the Upper Clark Fork River, conservationists are also working on improving the river’s many tributaries.

“No river can be more healthy than the tributaries feeding it,” said Will McDowell of the Clark Fork Coalition.

That’s why Clark Fork Coalition members and volunteers from NorthWestern Energy were at Racetrack Creek several miles west of Butte planting willows along the creek bank which had suffered major erosion from flooding last year. Without the restoration work, the bank would continue to erode into the water.

“And all of that is like basically taking a dump truck and just dumping sand into the creek and that’s not what you want for a spawning reach,” said McDowell.

Volunteers from the utility company said they want to be good stewards of the environment.

“Thinking back to people like my uncle who was always out in the woods, always out in the environment, always out doing fishing or hunting or something else. He was the type of guy who would certainly appreciate people taking care of the environment,” said NorthWestern Energy volunteer Matthew Dunbar.

So if you love those brown trout in the Clark Fork River, then you have to love Racetrack Creek, because this is where these trout are born.

“Trout that spawn in these tributaries are actually the trout that you end up catching when you fish in the river,” said McDowell.