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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Field Reports

The Spokesman-Review


Canyon Ferry filling

The Missouri River is lower than normal, but Montana’s Canyon Ferry Reservoir, so low last year that boat docks extended into mud rather than water, might be full by month’s end, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Spring rain has raised the reservoir, but the water from the sky has not been enough to offset seven years of drought. Anglers on the Missouri below Canyon Ferry face another summer of restricted flows on a trout stream staggering under the dual pressure of low water, and whirling disease in fish.

Canyon Ferry Reservoir controls flows on the Missouri River, all the way to Fort Peck in eastern Montana.

The Missouri below Holter Dam recently was flowing at about 3,370 cubic feet per second, well below the 4,100 cfs needed to maintain a healthy fishery. Normally, the Missouri runs around 7,610 cfs in June.

The federal government requires at least 2,800 cfs in the river below Holter. That is the minimum flow for survival of the fishery.

Associated Press


Blackfoot gets trumpeters

Ten trumpeter swans are being stocked in the Blackfoot Valley’s Ovando area this week after Montana wildlife commissioners approved a plan for reintroduction of the birds.

“The long-term goal is to establish a breeding population in the Blackfoot,” said Tom Hinz of Montana Wetlands Legacy, sponsor of the project to build a population in the area. “We will continue to release a small number of birds each year until we have established seven breeding pairs.”

The proposal was initiated after a pair of swans built a nest on a pond island north of Lincoln in May 2003. Less than a month after the female laid three eggs, she flew into a power line and died. The eggs were taken to Ronan’s Montana Waterfowl Foundation, and a captive trumpeter swan incubated them.

Three cygnets emerged and eventually were returned to the pond, where the male swan had remained. Over the course of a month, Hinz and others watched as the male tended the cygnets, taught them to fly and led them south as winter neared.

Associated Press

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