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Friday, March 5th
2:00 PM

Applied Geomorphology 100-year Channel Migration Zone (CMZ) Map for the Clark Fork River -- Bitterroot River to Huson

Karin Boyd, Applied Geomorphology, Inc.
Peter Nielsen, Missoula City-County Health Department
Tony Thatcher, DTM Consulting, Inc.

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Missoula County recently performed a pilot Channel Migration Zone (CMZ) mapping effort for the Clark Fork River from Missoula to Huson, in part to explore the potential use of such mapping as an educational and management tool. The pilot project consisted of an assessment of historic rates and patterns of river movement, and delineation of a 100- year migration corridor. With continued collaboration between the county, technical advisory committees and the project contractor, strong considerations were given to inherent uncertainties associated with the prediction of a century of future river migration. Embarking on this effort as a pilot project proved valuable, as involved parties learned a great deal regarding the process, methodology, limitations, and potential applications of CMZ mapping. This will allow the county to pursue mapping in other areas with full knowledge of the mapping process methodology, and potential to inform regulatory decisions such as subdivision approval or floodplain permitting. The pilot project also revealed that useful, graphically compelling interim products can be generated to educate citizens regarding river dynamics in specific areas. Missoula County learned that it is beneficial to work closely with its consultant in a pilot CMZ in collecting imagery, defining project reach boundaries, accessing locally available data, and coordinating local technical review. In summary, the experience in Missoula County reflects the benefit of exploring this process as a relatively streamlined pilot, to engage local government and advisory personnel in a collaborative approach to developing an effective tool for both public outreach and floodplain management.

2:30 PM

Redefining Dilution – An Alternative to Traditional Wastewater Treatment

Heath Nicolas Carey, University of Montana - Missoula

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Wastewater treatment plants rank second to agricultural runoff in the top ten major pollution sources to U.S. surface waters. Such nutrient-rich inputs can degrade aquatic ecosystems by catalyzing eutrophication events, especially in summer months when surface water flows are low. Alternative treatment practices, modeled after natural ecosystem processes, could reduce nutrient inputs to surface waters while accumulating biomass and sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide. We designed and implemented an alternative treatment strategy, using effluent to fertilize trees at the Missoula Wastewater Treatment Facility. The objectives of this work were to assess: 1) environmental impacts of effluent application; 2) tree survivorship; and 3) growth effects. A two acre plantation was established in May 2009 by planting 316 dormant, unrooted stem cuttings of two hybrid poplar species, Populus deltoides X Populus trichocarpa and Populus deltoides X Populus nigra, and the native Black Cottonwood, Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa. The effects of effluent fertilization on poplar growth, soil and ground water nutrient contents were monitored throughout the first growing season of this pilot project. Effluent fertilization nearly doubled poplar growth, and as suspected, had no major impacts on soil or ground water nutrient concentrations. Continued research at this site is necessary to observe environmental impacts as effluent loading rates increase. Our initial results suggest that surface application of wastewater effluent offers a valuable strategy for decreasing effluent input rates to the Clark Fork River. Moreover, this project offers smaller communities a "blue print" from which to design similar projects that remediate nutrient-rich effluent in a cost-effective way.

3:00 PM

Watershed Restoration on the Lolo National Forest, Benefits for the Clark Fork Watershed

Taylor Greenup, Lolo National Forest
Jennifer Mickelson, Lolo National Forest

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

The Lolo National Forest spans about 2 million acres in western Montana, all within the Clark Fork watershed. As a multi-use land management agency, protecting and restoring watershed functions are high priorities for the Forest. Through various planning and implementation processes, the Lolo National Forest is able to prioritize projects that benefit water quality and cold-water fisheries habitat. Watershed restoration and rehabilitation activities are planned at both large, Forest-wide , and small, project-level scales. Two major drivers for planning watershed restoration are the State of Montana’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) planning process and the listing of bull trout as a threatened species in 1998. Since 2003, TMDLs have been completed in 6 planning areas for 24 streams on the forest. The Lolo National Forest has 18 separate bull trout subpopulations that are listed as “bull trout priority” watersheds.

Often with the help of partners, such as Trout Unlimited, the Lolo National Forest maintains a progressive and successful watershed restoration program. Restoration projects range from road decommissioning, to fish passage, to stream reconstruction, and beyond. With the aid of the Forest’s Watershed Improvement Tracking System, we are able to display accomplishments and track progress across the Forest. Highlighting accomplishments, the Upper Lolo Restoration Project is an example of a project addressing the recovery of bull trout and water quality by implementing road decommissioning and fish passage with local partners in a TMDL and bull trout priority watershed.

3:30 PM

TU's Middle Clark Fork River Restoration Program

Rob Roberts, Trout Unlimited

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM

A major part of Trout Unlimited's Middle Clark Fork project in 2007-2008 was the completion of a basin-wide planning effort, including the assessment of future restoration projects in the watershed. Working with Montana FWP and Lolo National Forest staff, TU compiled and analyzed existing information from fish population studies, culvert inventories, irrigation mapping, road surveys,TMDL documents, and other pertinent information to develop a comprehensive restoration strategy for 60 tributaries to the Middle Clark Fork River and 105 miles of the mainstem. The planning effort relied on TUs Conservation Success Index (CSI) technology and included the use of multiple GIS mapping layers to identify priority reaches and restoration sites, as well as monitoring needs. In all, 20 different indicators and data sets were used in GIS queries to rank 6th code HUCs in the Middle Clark Fork River by 4 general parameters: Rangewide Conditions, Population Integrity, Habitat Integrity and Future Security for both bull trout and westslope cutthroat.

The assessment, completed in 2008, yielded a massive amount of information for TU and other resources managers in the Middle Clark Fork River. At present, the project team has a preliminary list of 18 medium and high priority projects, including culvert replacement, mine reclamation, irrigation ditch screening, land acquisition and riparian fencing. The assessment and data is also being used on a project scale. For example, TU is working with project partners to analyze the riparian roads that are within 100 foot of a stream and are ranked as high priority bull trout or westslope cutthroat streams, which will lay the groundwork for a large revegetation project. Also, the analysis has led to further cooperation in education, outreach and project development between partners on Rattlesnake Creek, a primary bull trout spawning stream, where water flow was identified as a limiting factor to bull trout reproduction. Furthermore, as a result of this effort, TU is currently working with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks and the Forest Service to begin removing or replacing undersized culverts in important watersheds, analyze road systems for decommissioning, survey and design new mine reclamation projects and work with new partners on both public and private land. Examples of these projects and their intended effects on native fish will be illustrated.

4:00 PM

Confluence Modeling Sediment Production and Delivery from Upland Sources in the Lower Clark Fork Basin Near Noxon, MT

Jim Johnson

4:00 PM - 4:30 PM