Funding Secured for California Creek

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 the uplands of California Creek have eroded leaving large gullies. Sediment washed into the creek creating large white plumes that were visible in the Big Hole River. Water quality problems are caused by high amounts of sediment and metals, some natural and most the result of historic mining and smelting. Repair of damages caused by the Anaconda Smelter falls under the Montana Natural Resources Damages Program (NRDP) and until this year repair has been limited to the west side of the continental divide. In 2013, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, NRDP and the Big Hole Watershed Committee partnered to repair California Creek. NRDP will repair the upland area with revegetation and repair of the large gullies. The Big Hole Watershed Committee will lead the riparian restoration. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks provides support for the project. Watershed Consulting provides technical expertise. Work is slated for 2014-2015. Funding for the riparian restoration is provided by Montana Department of Environmental Quality with funds designated for improving water quality. Additional funding and support is provided by Montana NRDP and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Total project cost is estimated to be near $200,000 for both uplands and riparian areas of California Creek.

The Big Hole Watershed Committee appreciates Montana NRDP’s commitment to repairing damages caused by historic mining operations.

California Creek Map

California Creek is a headwater tributary to Deep Creek. The map describes the east portion of the Deep Creek watershed. The upper star identifies the work area slated for California Creek with this funding. In addition, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks with support from the Big Hole Watershed Committee is restoring a portion of French Creek, identified with the lower star.

Calif Creek Plume

Sediment washes from the upland hills to forms large gullies that empty into California Creek. The above photo is taken the bottom of a gully looking towards California Creek.

Click Here to learn more about Montana NRDP

Click Here to learn more about the Montana FWP Mount Haggin Wildlife Management Area

Click Here to learn more about Montana DEQ and Water Quality

About Big Hole Watershed Committee

The purpose of the Big Hole Watershed Committee is to seek understanding of, and agreement among, individuals and groups with diverse viewpoints on water use and management in the Big Hole watershed of southwest Montana. Established in 1995 to address resource and community concerns in the watershed of the Big Hole River in southwest Montana, the Big Hole Watershed Committee is composed of 22 governing members who represent diverse interests including: ranching, utilities, local government, sportsmen, conservationists, tourism, and outfitters. In addition to the official members; local, state, and federal agencies participate as technical advisors. The BHWC is a consensus-driven, multi-stakeholder entity that works closely with other conservation organizations as well as local, state, and federal agencies on watershed restoration and management plans.
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