Lower Clark Fork Tributary Watershed Restoration Plan

Photo credit: Mariah Williams.
Lower Clark Fork Tributary Watershed Restoration Plan – finalized October 2019!

Access it here: Lower Clark Fork Tributary Watershed Restoration Plan (2019)

The first Lower Clark Fork Tributary Watershed Restoration Plan was completed in 2010, and covers multiple tributaries that flow into the lower Clark Fork River (highlighted in green above). Access it here: Watershed Restoration Plan for Lower Clark Fork TMDL Planning Area. While this document has contributed to watershed restoration efforts since it was written, the Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group, working with local watershed stakeholders and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), completed an updated plan in 2019 – in order to better reflect the current priorities of local watershed stakeholders. Find out more about Watershed Restoration Plans here.

Who is involved?

While the Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group was the sponsor of this plan, the overall goal for this plan was to incorporate the perspectives and priorities of stakeholders (people with interest or concern in tributaries to the Lower Clark Fork River) into a comprehensive watershed-wide plan, and develop partnerships that will lead to successful restoration efforts in the future.

Much like the Thompson River Watershed Restoration Plan, we worked to engage landowners, land and water resource managers, and other users of the Lower Clark Fork Watershed.  The perspectives and knowledge of local landowners and watershed users within the watershed were valued and sought throughout the entire watershed restoration planning process and we aimed to incorporate their input into the WRP.

Background and development

The Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group has been working within Lower Clark Fork tributary watersheds since 2003 when the group was formed. The original Lower Clark Fork Tributary Watershed Restoration Plan was completed in 2010 by the LCFWG and collaborating stakeholders. This plan was the first of many Watershed Restoration Plans completed in Montana.

The area included within in this plan includes all tributaries of the lower Clark Fork River from Prospect Creek (joins the Clark Fork just below the Thompson Falls Dam) downstream to Blue Creek (joins the Clark Fork just east of the Idaho-Montana border).  Many of these streams are identified by DEQ as impaired streams due to their high levels of sediment, other types of nonpoint source pollution which affect water quality, and other stream alterations which affect stream function and aquatic life. Additionally, many of the streams in the watershed restoration planning area provide habitat for  native fish populations (Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout) which provides additional impetus for restoration.

Throughout 2018 and 2019, the Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group worked to collect input from stakeholders on specific priorities for work in the tributaries to the Lower Clark Fork River and incorporated it into an update of the Lower Clark Fork Tributary Watershed Restoration Plan. The goal was to complete this planning document in 2019, so that we could then work toward implementing on-the-ground projects that benefit the streams in our watershed, and are in line with the priorities of a diverse group of stakeholders. The Lower Clark Fork Tributary Watershed Restoration Plan will be a living document, and will be updated regularly into the future to reflect the changing priorities of involved stakeholders, work already accomplished, and any new concerns that provide impetus for future work.


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