For decades, Montanans have worked to conserve our rivers and streams. We are always using Montanans’ ingenuity and can-do spirit to find ways to use our rivers more wisely, while still respecting property rights and economic development.
For rivers running through private lands, Channel Migration Zone mapping can provide landowners with critical information about stream movement and floods. Using floodplain easements, landowners can reap significant tax benefits for leaving valuable wildlife habitat intact. Through restoration projects that involve reconnecting rivers to their historic floodplains and eradicating noxious weeds like tamarisk and Russian olive, landowners, river users, and fish and wildlife all benefit.
On public lands, designation of a river under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act requires the federal government to protect it’s free-flowing character, clean water, and outstanding values from inappropriate development. The idea for the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was born in Montana when the legendary wildlife biologists John and Frank Craighead were fighting the proposed Spruce Park Dam on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River in the 1950s. Presently, Montana has just four Wild and Scenic designated river sections – the three forks of the upper Flathead River and the White Cliffs section of the Missouri River, but it hasn’t had any new rivers designated since the mid-1970s. Given the unprecedented threats that Montana’s rivers now face, we think it’s time to give more of our rivers the same level of protection.
Please explore the river conservation tools that we have compiled below, and then send us your input regarding where you would like to see these tools applied, and any new tools that you would like to see utilized.