NewsMissoula County


FWP: Landslides to blame for change of color in Blackfoot River

Posted at 10:40 AM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 12:41:37-04

MISSOULA – State wildlife officials say they’ve figured out what’s caused a section of the Blackfoot River to recently change color.

MTN News reported late last week that anglers and floaters were puzzled as to why the Blackfoot River is running “dark.”

The Seeley Lake Ranger District was looking into what happened after receiving reports from a half a dozen concerned citizens.

District Ranger Quinn Carver told MTN News at the time that a series of storms Tuesday may have caused a mud or rock slide that lead the decolorization.

Blackfoot River
The Seeley Lake Ranger District is investigating why the Blackfoot River has recently changed color. (MTN News photo)

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reported in a social media post on Tuesday morning that the discolorization was caused by two landslides and one debris flow in the headwaters of Dunham Creek.

“The Rice Ridge Fire burned this area in 2017, making it more susceptible to erosion events like this. Landslides and heavy debris can have localized impacts on fish, but right now the fish are looking good,” FWP state in the post.

FWP officials add that the Blackfoot can be expected to be off-color a few more days, especially just downstream from Monture Creek.