The Year Of Bliss

There are tough times. This year was not one of them.

We heard a lot of good things about this year. Fishing was fantastic, hay was plentiful, no major fires, and water was high with no need to implement the Big Hole River Drought Management Plan and no river fishing restrictions. The only negative I heard — it was a banner year for mosquitoes, but we can overlook that.

There were several major landmark events. In July, Governor Bullock announced Montana DNRC’s leadership of a federal drought resiliency program that will pilot in the Upper Missouri and highlighted the Big Hole Watershed Committee as the model group for addressing drought. In August, USFWS announced the Arctic grayling would not be listed under the Endangered Species Act, largely thanks to the good work of the people in the valley. A series of awards and celebrations for those involved followed (see our BHWC Fall 2014 Newsletter for details). On the heels of that, in October Montana adopted the Big Hole River Floodplain maps. At the same time BHWC is hosting two major water quality improvement projects for which funding was secured this year totaling more than $376,000 and more to come.

Are we dreaming?

In 2015 the Big Hole Watershed Committee will turn 20 years old. Our genesis in 1995 was the Arctic grayling and drought. Our niche was to bring diverse interests together and work with our neighbors for solutions that worked for everyone. We’ve grown since then to work in more issues with the ability to implement projects for the greatest good in the watershed. A great year was no accident. The 2014 Year of Bliss occurred in part because of many years of hard work and persistence among many different people.

We are growing a legacy. Making repairs. Taking challenges head-on. Creating a sustainable watershed for ourselves and our children. 

By “We” – we mean you too. Your donation this year is as important as ever.

Help Us Keep Bliss Going.
Please Donate today.

Posted in Big Hole River

February 18 Monthly Meeting: MFWP Presents Wildlife News

BHWC will hold its next Monthly Meeting:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

6pm at the Divide Grange

Topic: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Presents Big Hole Area Wildlife News & Updates

Presented by Craig Fager, MFWP Wildlife Biologist, Dillon, Jesse Newby, MFWP Research Technician, Montana Moose Study, Vanna Boccadori, MFWP Wildlife Biologist, Butte

Meeting will include streamflow update, committee reports, discussions and more. Please join us – Our meetings are always open to all and your attendance is encouraged.

February 2015 Meeting Agenda

November 2014 Meeting Minutes

January 2015 Meeting Minutes

Find the Divide Grange:

The Divide Grange is located on Highway 43 in Divide, Montana. From the east, Exit I15 on the Divide/Wisdom/Highway 43 Exit and turn west on Highway 43. You will enter the town of Divide. Turn left towards the school & Post Office. The Divide Grange is a one story cement building located west of the school.

Click Here to see more about our Monthly Meetings.

Posted in Big Hole River

BHWC Welcomes Big Sky Corps Member

Please help us welcome our Big Sky Watershed Corps Member, Sarah Washko! Sarah will work with us January – November 2015 to assist with water quality monitoring, projects and outreach. She resides in Wise River. She is a recent graduate of University of Montana.2015_BSWCThe Big Sky Watershed Corps program is an AmeriCorps program that places recent graduates with Montana watershed or conservation groups. The program is operated by Montana Watershed Coordination Council and hosted by Montana Conservation Corps. There are 20 members serving in Montana statewide in 2015.


Posted in Big Hole River

Lawsuit Filed 12/4/14 Against USFWS Arctic Grayling Decision

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.”

Click Here to see entire the EarthJustice press release

Click Here to view the entire Intent to Sue document

Posted in Big Hole River

BHWC Fall 2014 Newsletter

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Big Hole Watershed Committee Fall 2014 Newsletter Click Here to view the BHWC Fall 2014 Newsletter. Inside: The Year of Bliss Organization News, Recent Growth & Governing Board Changes BHWC News from our Focus Areas Project Updates on Mount Haggin … Continue reading


State Adopts Big Hole River Floodplain Maps

The Big Hole Watershed Committee is pleased to announce that October 7, 2014 the State of Montana formally adopted Big Hole River Floodplain maps. Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) conducted a technical analysis of the maps and … Continue reading


Grayling Not Listed Under ESA!

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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


Big Hole River Drought Management Plan 2014

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The Big Hole Watershed Committee Announces Release of the Big Hole River 2014 Drought Management Plan (DMP). The DMP is reviewed annually by a drought committee that includes MFWP and DNRC, irrigators, conservation organizations and BHWC. This year the drought … Continue reading


Funding Secured for California Creek

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Big Hole Watershed Committee Secures $126,400 for Riparian Restoration in California Creek California Creek has long been plagued by upland erosion. The Anaconda Smelter operations logged the area and smelter fallout contaminated the easily erodible volcanic tuff soil. Over the years … Continue reading

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Big Hole River Watershed Restoration Plans

BHWC Announces Completion of Big Hole River Watershed Restoration Plans:

Upper and North Fork Big Hole Watershed Restoration Plan, 2012

Middle-Lower Big Hole River Watershed Restoration Plan, 2013

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.

Learn more about non-point sources water pollutions in Montana from Montana DEQ

Posted in Big Hole River