In preparation for the summer 2017 season, the Big Hole Watershed Committee would remind river users, Butte and Big Hole area residents, and interest groups that the Big Hole River Drought Management Plan will be in place again this year.

The Big Hole River Drought Management Plan is available for the 2017 season. View the DMP here.

The 2016 version of the Drought Management Plan will remain in place for 2017. The drought plan remains unchanged, except an updated introduction and a note in the amendments.

The Drought Management Plan coordinates voluntary actions for irrigators and water users to reduce water use to maintain minimum river flows and for the fishing community to reduce fishingc all as a way to reduce fish stress during times of drought. If conditions continue to decline, the plan outlines fishing restrictions enforced by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to further protect the fishery based on high water temperature, low flow, or both. The plan divides the Big Hole River into five sections. Actions are determined by water temperature and flow measured in five locations. The plan was established in 1997 and is reviewed annually and updated as needed.

Visit the “River Conditions” page on BHWC.org website for the plan, interactive map, current conditions, restrictions, forecasting, and more.

As part of the Drought Management Plan, the Big Hole Watershed Committee funds three USGS real-time temperature gages for the stations Big Hole River-Wise River (Dickey Bridge), Notch Bottom, and Maiden Rock July 1 – September 30 at $3,600/year and also sponsors four upper Big Hole River USGS flow gages.

A generous snowpack and cool spring may keep river conditions healthy this spring and summer. According to Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, river and tributary flows basin-wide have been near double of median flow this time of year and the entire basin average snowpack is 110% of average.

For more information, visit bhwc.org/fish-water/river-conditions or call 406-960-4855.

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