About the Big HOle River Drought Management Plan

Shared Sacrifice, Shared Success

The Big Hole River Drought Management Plan designates target river flow and temperature conditions for fish health in five river sections of the Big Hole River. The plan includes voluntary conservation targets for all water users, MFWP fishing restriction criteria, and information tools. Conservation actions are designed support the health of the fishery.

The plan outlines voluntary conservation actions and relies on Shared Sacrifice, Shared Success – if all users sacrifice, we can all be successful in protecting the fishery. The plan also designates MFWP fishing restrictions when drought conditions reach critical levels.

The BHWC DMP originated in 1997. The plan is reviewed annually by a committee made up of irrigators, fishermen, conservation groups, and agency representatives as well as the entire BHWC.

River Conditions

Streamflow Forecast

From Mike Roberts, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Hydrologist. As of 2/21/2018:

Current Conditions: Presently, snowpack conditions are well above average for the Big Hole basin.  Indications are that the strong La Nina signal that has brought cooler and wetter conditions to the northern tier of the U.S. this winter will start to weaken this spring. At this point we are about two-thirds of the way through our snow accumulation period and conditions look good for an above average runoff. As we observed last year, a strong runoff does not always equate to above average streamflow conditions later in the year (August and September).

Snowpack (NRCS SNOTEL Data): At this time the Big Hole Basin is at 144% of average. The Jefferson Basin in its entirety is at 133% of average.

Forecast: As of February 15, the Climate Prediction Center forecasts the probability for above average precipitation and cooler than normal temperatures for the next month. with that moderating to more normal conditions later in the spring.

These forecasts are always subject to change. For more information, visit: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/30day/.

View the Forecast Details

2016 Fundraising


2017 USGS Gage Bill:

Water Temperature at Big Hole River @ Wise River (Dickie Bridge), Maiden Rock, and Notch Bottom (Glen):

USGS Flow Gages for Upper Big Hole CCAA program:

Make a River Gage Donation Today

Wise River Real-Time Gage

Success Story

The Wise River real-time gage was installed near the mouth of the Wise River October 2015. The Big Hole Watershed Committee sought installation in order to continue flow and temperature monitoring in the Wise River, as well provide information for Wise River irrigators. The gage reports flow, stage and water temperature in real-time via Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Surface Water website. The gage is part of the 2015 launch of DNRC & Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology real-time monitoring system for small streams, who installed and operates the gage. Funding was provided by Big Hole Watershed Committee, The Nature Conservancy, and Montana Trout Unlimited and is graciously hosted on the PKR Ranch. The Big Hole Watershed Committee in partnership with DNRC, MFWP, and Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology have been conducting monitoring of the Wise River surface and groundwater since 2011.

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