Native west slope cutthroat trout and bull trout will have access to seven additional river miles of valuable habitat in a tributary to Rock Creek when a project to remove an undersized culvert is completed. This project is one of 10 that recently received funding by the Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission, through the Future
Fisheries Improvement Program (FFIP). Nearly $286,000 in funding was approved to improve Montana fisheries.
The commission approved the FFIP projects submitted for the summer funding cycle in areas across Montana, including five that are west and five that are east of the Continental Divide.
The fisheries improvements will install fencing to restrict cattle from the stream, remove undersized culverts to allow fish passage, move roads away from the stream, install fish habitat structures, increase flow to streams, protect native fish with barriers and more. The projects will help many species of native and nonnative fish, including bull trout, westslope and Yellowstone cutthroat trout, mountain whitefish, brown trout, rainbow trout, sculpin, sauger and smallmouth bass.
This year's funding was matched by more than $1.4 million from outside sources. Watershed groups, governmental agencies and others submitted a total of 13 proposed projects.
Applications for the FFIP winter-cycle grants are due Nov. 31, 2018, to FWP's Fisheries Management Bureau. Application forms are available on FWP’s website and at FWP regional offices and the headquarters in Helena.
Any individual or group with a project designed to restore or enhance habitat for wild or native fish may apply for FFIP funding. Applicants are encouraged to work with local FWP fisheries biologists. Landowners and other project partners usually share project costs, which extends FFIP dollars.
More information and FFIP applications are available on FWP's website at fwp.mt.gov. Select the Fish & Wildlife tab, choose Habitat, then Fish, scroll down to find the link to the Future Fisheries Improvement Program.
Approved FFIP projects
Brewster Creek fish passage (Granite County, tributary to Rock Creek)
Cedar Creek large woody debris (Mineral County, tributary to Clark Fork River)
Copper Creek decommissioning (Lewis & Clark County, tributary to Landers Fork)
Cottonwood Creek / North Fork Cottonwood Creek passage & road decommissioning (Powell County, tributary to Blackfoot River)
Loneman Creek riparian fencing (Sanders County, tributary to Little Thompson River)
Ramshorn Creek fish barrier (Madison County, tributary to Ruby River)
Mulherin Creek instream flow lease renewal (Park County, tributary to Yellowstone River)
North Fork Spanish Creek barrier supplement (Madison County, tributary to Spanish Creek)
Wall Creek fish barrier (Madison County, tributary to Madison River)
Musselshell River Meathouse restoration (Musselshell County, tributary to Missouri River)