Photo credit: Ryan Kreiner, MFWP
Background and Development
While the Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group (LCFWG) sponsored the development of the Thompson River Watershed Restoration Plan, the overall goal for this plan was to incorporate the perspectives and priorities of stakeholders (people with interest or concern in the Thompson River or it tributaries) into a comprehensive watershed-wide plan, and develop partnerships that will lead to successful restoration efforts in the future. Find out more about Watershed Restoration Plans in general here.
The Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group first started work developing the Thompson River Watershed Restoration Plan in January 2017. In February, a stakeholder meeting was held with primary land managers and local government entities in the drainage to guide the planning process.
At the initial stakeholder meeting, participants identified eight stream drainages within the Thompson River Watershed as areas that could benefit from restoration efforts – these will be the focus of the Thompson River Watershed Restoration Plan. Four of these streams were dictated by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) as priority (impaired) streams for restoration due to their high levels of sediment, nutrients, and/or high stream temperatures that are affecting aquatic life and/or primary contact recreation. The other four streams were identified by local stakeholders and land managers as priority streams due to the presence of native fish populations (Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout). The Thompson River Watershed Restoration Plan is focused on streams and rivers only, not lakes and ponds. While standing water bodies (lakes and ponds) are important components of any watershed, stakeholders concluded that the planning document would be most effective if it focus on flowing systems only.
Throughout the year, the Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group worked to collect input from stakeholders on specific priorities for work in the Thompson River watershed and incorporated it into the Thompson River Watershed Restoration Plan. An initial draft was completed in November and reviewed by stakeholders. A final draft, incorporating the input received from stakeholders on the initial draft was submitted to DEQ at the end of January. The plan was accepted in February 2018 and finalized in March 2018. The Thompson River 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.
The following map identifies DEQ-listed impaired streams and the additional stream drainages included in the Thompson River Watershed Restoration Plan.