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Restoration project helping trout populations near Helena

Posted at 12:32 PM, Sep 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-16 14:41:05-04

HELENA - The second phase of the Beaver Creek Restoration Project — which aims to improve a primary spawning tributary for rainbow and brown trout — will begin this autumn.

“Yeah, there's been a natural decline in spawning trout in Beaver Creek pretty much since the mid-1990s,” said Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest fisheries biologist Alli Russell.

This project aims to restore approximately 1.2 miles of lower Beaver Creek. They aim to restore the creek by adding large pieces of wood to the creek area, adding vegetation to the banks such as willows, and creating spawning pools for rainbow and brown trout.

As a primary spawning tributary, the US Forest Service is also working to maintain water levels so the creek will stay connected with the Missouri River and support the vegetation and animals that call this place home.

“The rainbow and the brown trout being the focal species and the recreational component was a huge part of this project, but ultimately this landscape has been altered by man since the late 1800s. And so, I think a huge part of this project addressed just improving the stream condition as it is and riparian habitat,” says Russell.

Phase 1 started in the fall of 2020 and is now complete and the growth of the vegetation around the creek is already clear. Phase 2 will commence this autumn and is slated to be completed by November or December.