Big Hole River
The Big Hole River is a 155-mile long blue-ribbon trout stream located in the southwest corner of Montana. The watershed encompasses nearly two million acres, yet is home to fewer than 2,000 year-round residents.
In response to the concerns of the communities along the river regarding sustainability and the effects of drought, the Big Hole Watershed Committee was formed in 1995. Our group consists of ranchers and conservationists, guides and business owners, government representatives and concerned citzens. Together, we have been working to maintain and enhance the quality of the Big Hole River and its surrounding watershed.
The next meeting of the Big Hole Watershed Committee will be: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 6pm at the Divide Grange Note the time change for daylight savings Topic: Big Hole Area Sage Grouse, status and needs Presented by Carolyn Sime, DNRC, … Continue reading
This Big Hole River and Beaverhead Recreation Rules are up for 5 year review this year. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is hosting two public meetings: Wednesday, October 21, 6-8pm, Dillon – University of Montana-Western Block Hall #311 Thursday, October 22, … Continue reading
The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that listing of the Greater Sage-Grouse on the Endangered Species Act is not warranted. Similar to the Arctic grayling listing decision last year, extensive conservation efforts and partnerships were a key part of the … Continue reading
MFWP Lifts Big Hole River Fishing Closures 9/16 – Entire River is Without Restriction (whoops) MFWP lifted Big Hole River Fishing Closures today, 9/16. The opening was in response to increased flows after heavy rain and snow over the last … Continue reading
August 18, 2015 – BHWC is asking everyone – protect the fishery by limiting fishing on stressed fish, conserve water use from irrigators and residential use, and exercise patience this late summer while we weather what remains of this drought … Continue reading
Lawsuit announced 12/4/2014 against the USFS Arctic grayling listing decision to not list the fish under the Endangered species act:
The following is from an EarthJustice press release 12/4/2014:
“The Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, Butte resident Pat Munday and former Montana fishing guide George Wuerthner today filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency’s latest decision to deny protection to a unique population of Arctic grayling in Montana. The Service first determined the grayling warranted endangered status in 1994 and reaffirmed that conclusion in 2010, but reversed course in August, withholding protection from the rare and beautiful relative of trout and salmon. The groups are represented by Earthjustice in Bozeman.”
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Today USFWS release their decision to not list the Arctic Grayling under the Endangered Species Act due to the efforts of collaborative partnerships. The Arctic grayling was the genesis of the Big Hole Watershed Committee (BHWC) in 1995. Since that time … Continue reading
BHWC Announces Completion of Big Hole River Watershed Restoration Plans:
The Watershed Restoration Plan (WRP) is a plan for improving water quality based on recommendations and findings of the Big Hole River Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and impaired waters listings. The WRP is a living document reviewed as needed. This is the first version of the WRP. The primary concern for water quality in the Big Hole River is high water temperature and sediment loading as a result of physical channel impairments (i.e. lack of riparian vegetation, channel disruption, etc.). High levels of nutrients and metals are also water quality concerns in some drainages.
The Big Hole River WRP’s are created and managed by the Big Hole Watershed Committee. Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sponsored development and provides oversight. Montana DEQ manages TMDL’s statewide and impaired waters listings statewide. Montana DEQ works with local watershed groups to voluntarily improve water quality in order to remove the waters from impaired listings.
The WRP is required by Montana DEQ and the Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) to meet EPA guidelines and approval from Montana DEQ in order for watershed groups to work to improve non-point source water quality. To date 11 WRP’s have been approved statewide and many WRP’s are in-process or slated for completion by local watershed groups.