Posts tagged: Clark Fork River
RIVERS — Montana Lieutenant Governor John Walsh will join other state officials today to celebrate the opening of a stretch of the Clark Fork River near Milltown that will be open for water traffic for the first time in more than a century.
What: Opening of 2.5 mile stretch of Clark Fork River to water traffic
When: Today (May 1) @ 10:45 a.m.
Where: Turah Fishing Access Site, eight miles east of Missoula on I-90 to Exit 113 (Turah), south then east for 2 miles.
Federal and local officials gathered in September to mark the end of a $100 million cleanup and restoration at Milltown Superfund site on the Clark Fork River upstream from Missoula.
Removal of the century-old dam and toxic mining sediments in an unprecedented scope was funded by a settlement with Atlantic Richfield Co.
Removing the dam eventually will be a boon to Clark Fork River native fisheries, state biologists say, but Missoula fly-fishing guides say aquatic insect hatches down from the dam site continue to be depressed.
The first advisory group meetings paving the way for the project were held in 1989 after arsenic was found in Milltown’s drinking water.
The Superfund work began in 2006 when crews began rerouting the river to drain the reservoir and expose the sediment contaminated by toxic waste flowing down the Clark Fork River from Butte-area mines.
In 2007, trains began hauling tons of sediment to holding ponds at Opportunity.
Milltown Dam was breached in 2008 and completely removed the following year. Since then, bulldozers scraped away the waste, dug new river channels and re-contoured the flood plain.
A state park is being developed at the site.
PADDLING — The artificial wave that has become a fixture in downtown Missoula and attracted kayakers from across the nation needs emergency repairs.
Brennan’s Wave was completed in 2006 and has served as a site for the U.S. Kayak Team’s Olympic Trial and the Montana Whitewater Championships, according to a story in the Missoulian.
Trent Baker, the spokesman for the nonprofit organization that funded the wave’s construction and oversees an endowment for its maintenance, says the wave has a giant crack in its middle chute.
The Missoulian reports runoff flows in the Clark Fork River likely caused the erosion.
Baker’s nonprofit has $20,000 to put toward fixing the crack but the repairs are expected to cost $50,000.
The group is seeking donations.
RIVERS — The riches of the Butte-area mining have evaporated in Western Montana as the federal government continues to try to undo the century-old environmental havoc the leftover heavy metals contributed to the Clark Fork River.
The $100-million project to remove Milltown Dam is complete.
Here's the latest step on the course back to a natural river, and wonderful fishery.
The Trustee Restoration Council charged with allocating the funds from Montana's settlement with Atlantic Richfield Co. over natural resource damage caused by decades of mining in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin signed off on a 20-year plan that will fund $65.5 million worth of projects crafted to improve water and land in Anaconda, Elliston, Drummond and Missoula, and another $40 million on groundwater projects in Butte and Anaconda, and now Gov. Brian Schweitzer must sign off on the plan. — Helena Independent Record
WHITEWATER RAFTING — Local rafter Tanner Grant has put together another in a series of videos that chronicles a rafter's view of a popular river, labeling all the rapids.
This time it's the Alberton Gorge of Montana's Clark Fork River, a popular summer rafting destination between Missoula and St. Regis.
Grant recentlly floated the river at 7,000 cfs, which is a little higher than normal mid-summer flows because of this year's prolonged runoff. But you'll get good views of Triple Bridges, Split Rock, Tumbleweed, Fang and all the others.
We put in at St. John and took out 17 miles downstream at Forest Grove below Tarkio Canyon. This is a spectacular solid class III run through a beautiful canyon.
Check it out and see what fun is in store on the river along I-90.
go with the flow
RIVER RUNNING – If you want expert advice on the reliable periods to find sufficient flows in area whitewater rivers, check out the ROW Adventures trip schedule. After all, they’ve been rafting area rivers for more than three decades.
The regional snowpack was about 119 percent of normal last week and some drainages are even highter, said ROW founder Peter Grubb.
His crews plan to run:
Spokane River Bowl and Pitcher now through July 6 (they ended July 20 last year).
Moyie River now through around June 12.
St. Joe River, starting around June 14 through July 4.
Clark Fork River, starting around July 5 and running through summer.
Grubb said he moves the same crew of guides and equipment to each river as it becomes ripe for rafting.
“We call the crew our migrant wave farmers,” he said.
BOATING - New restrictions on motorized boating went into effect last weekend on Missoula area rivers, including parts of the Clark Fork, Bitterroot and Blackfoot.
On the Clark Fork, motorized travel is prohibited year-round through Missoula, from the old Milltown Reservoir area to just above the confluence with the Bitterroot on the western edge of town.
The previously unrestricted stretch of river from Kelly Island Fishing Access Site (FAS) to Harper’s Bridge FAS has the following regulations:
Harper’s Bridge to St. John’s FAS, also previously unrestricted, is now open to motorized watercraft (except PWC) from Oct. 1-June 15 and to 20 hp or less June 16-Sept. 30. The regulations remain the same as they have been below St. John’s.
On the Bitterroot, the new regulations prohibit the spring unrestricted motorized travel that once was allowed below Florence Bridge. Under the new regulations, only 20 horsepower or less travel is allowed from Oct. 1-Jan. 31 for the entire river, and the rest of the year is float only.
On the Blackfoot, the former Milltown Reservoir area is now closed to motorized watercraft.
The new regulations were proposed to address public safety concerns, social conflicts and a few outdated regulations pertaining to the Milltown area, officials said.
FISHING — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is accepting public comment through June 24 on a proposal to extend the float fishing season on Rock Creek, east of Missoula, because of the unusually high river flows that have prevented most spring floating opportunities this year.
RIVERS — The Clark Fork River was a foot over flood stage in Missoula on Tuesday, the Missoulian reports.
The Montana river was predicted to rise another couple of feet by Thursday as rainfall and snowmelt increased flows.
This isn't good news for anglers with an itch to get out for traditional June hatches.
Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop fishing report:
Rock Creek is unfishable, and that's probably an understatement. Look for it to get bigger with the rain and warm weather we are supposed to get at the end of the week. We might just have to day dream about salmonflies this year.
Most of Western Montana and parts of Idaho are under flood warnings.
FISHERIES — The new upstream fish ladder at the Thompson Falls Dam and hydropower project in Thompson Falls, Mont., has opened and apparently fish such as bull trout and rainbows have started moving freely past the structure since April.
The fish ladder was completed and dedicated last fall.
The report comes from GEI Consultants Inc., the firm selected by PPL Montana to provide ecological and engineering services for the project. The story is published today at HydroWorld.com.
The $7.5 million project is designed to provide endangered bull trout and other fish varieties unhindered access to hundreds of miles of the upstream Clark Fork River and its tributaries.
Read on for more details.
FISHING — Flooding on the Bitterroot and Clark Fork rivers has forced Montana officials to close many fishing access sites this week.
Bitterroot River sites closed today include, from south to north: Hannon Memorial, WW White, Darby Bridge, Wally Crawford, Woodside Bridge, Tucker Crossing, Bell Crossing, Poker Joe and Florence Bridge.
Clark Fork sites closed near Missoula include Turah, Schwartz Creek, Kona and Kelly Island (Mullan Road access only).
Blackfoot River closed sites include Monture.
Closures will continue until flood conditions subside. Additional fishing access site closures are possible as conditions change.
The closures basically are a moot issue for anglers, since the rivers are blown out. Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is advising boaters to stay off the rivers until flows subside and the abundance of dangerous logs and debris filter out.
Rock Creek is not closed but FWP officials say it's flowing dangerously high and carrying a lot of debris. A log jam has been reported at river mile 27 (upstream from the microburst site). Another log jam is reported near river mile 30 near the Hog Back
PADDLING — Top paddlers are zeroing in on Montana's Clark Fork River this weekend for the Best in the West kayak competition, one of the longest standing kayak events in the U.S.
Every year in the middle of May, kayakers converge in Missoula to surf Brennan’s Wave and the “Comp Hole” on the Alberton Gorge —one of the best playspots in North America (10,000-15,000 cfs, USGS Clark Fork below Missoula gage). Paddlers say this venue provides the canvas for the best of what the true freestyle kayaking lifestyle has to offer.
Read on for details.
RIVERS – Milltown Dam was breached in March 2008, allowing Montana’s Clark Fork River to flow free just above Missoula for the first time in a century. But it wasn’t allowed to run freely in its restored channel until last week.