We are excited to announce that the Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group has been awarded a generous grant from the Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) Conservation Initiative to begin work on improving habitat within the Beaver Creek Watershed. The lower Big Beaver Creek area experienced historic logging of the floodplain and riparian areas and the establishment of Reed Canary Grass (RCG) in its place by early settlers with the hopes that this grass would be a good forage for cattle. Sadly, this did not end up being the case as cattle found the grass most unappetizing. Now the grass presents a persistent problem not only for being an invasive grass but also for streambank stability along Big Beaver Creek as RCG has a shallow root system and is much more susceptible to erosion than streambanks with a diverse riparian vegetation community of trees and shrubs. This leads to a wider and shallower stream with increased sediment and decreased productivity and resilience to high flow events. To help address this problem, the Lower Clark Fork Watershed will be planting 100 trees along Big Beaver Creek this fall not only to help restore the streamside forests and improve streambank stability but also to shade out RCG as the trees grow forming a new canopy. We are proud of this project as it connects the Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group’s mission of working with landowners to improve watershed health with the Y2Y’s mission to help protect and connect habitat from Yellowstone National Park to the Canadian Yukon as this project will help create a new wildlife corridor. Additional funding for this project has been secured through Montana Watershed Coordination Council’s Project Grant program. This project is possible through Natural Resource Conservation Service partnership.
If you are curious about Y2Y follow the link: Establishing Wildlife Corridors & Habitat Protections in US & CA | Y2Y