Voice of the River

Task Force Completes Streambank Restoration Project on the West Fork of the Gallatin River

The Gallatin River Task Force buttoned up a large-scale streambank restoration project on the West Fork of the Gallatin River as if flows through the Big Sky Resort Golf Course in May 2017. The project, which broke ground in October 2016, addresses elevated nutrient and fine sediment levels in the West Fork.

Elevated nutrients can cause excess algae growth, which depletes dissolved oxygen vital to aquatic life. Potential human sources of nitrate in the West Fork include fertilizer, land application of treated wastewater effluent on the Big Sky Resort Golf Course and Big Sky Community Park, effluent from privately owned septic systems, and storm water runoff.

Excess fine sediment negatively impacts channel morphology, aquatic life, and recreational use. Sources of fine sediment include natural land disturbance, erosion from construction areas and unpaved roads, disturbance of riparian (streamside) areas, and road traction sand.

One of three streambanks rebuilt during the West Fork Restoration project.

Three different features were installed during the West Fork Restoration Project to address these water quality concerns:

1)    Wetlands – Seedling were planted in a natural depression, which fills with water when it rains, to create a functional wetland. Wetlands offer many benefits to the environment, including improving water quality, storing water, and providing wildlife habitat.

2)    Willow Plantings – Streamside vegetation was restored in key locations on the Big Sky Golf Course. Riparian plants, like willows, absorb nutrients from runoff, and help keep potential contaminants out of rivers and streams. In addition, their leaves shade water, cooling water temperature for trout.

3)    Restored Streambanks – Three eroding streambanks were rebuilt with layers of conifer boughs, willow stakes, and fabric wrapped dirt. In the years to come, the willows will root and establish, which will prevent erosion and improve water quality.

The Task Force will monitor streamside vegetation and water quality to measure the future impacts of the project.  For more information, look out for interpretive signs installed on the Big Sky Resort Golf Course this summer.

The West Fork Restoration Project was supported by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the Big Sky Area Resort Tax District; made possible by the landowner Big Sky Resort; and supported by the efforts of numerous volunteers and the Big Sky Resort Golf Course staff.

Search
Categories

Advocacy & Outreach

Restoration

River Stories

Water Conservation

Water Monitoring

More News & Program Updates:

Gallatin River Task Force Member Spotlight: Dan Boeckman
Gallatin River Task Force Member Spotlight: Dan Boeckman

This month's Gallatin River Task Force Member Spotlight: Dan Boeckman​. When new member Dan Boeckman was asked what prompted his interest in membership with the Task Force, he had this to say, "When I think of all the times and rivers I have fished in Montana, my mind...

WATCH: Water Plan Public Meeting
WATCH: Water Plan Public Meeting

The Gallatin River Task Force, along with nonprofit, private, local, and state partners, joined together on June 17, 2024 for a public meeting which featured a panel discussion about priorities for wastewater, water supply, and river health. The presentation included...

Subscribe to the GRTF Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive news and updates from the Task Force.

Support Our Mission

Get Your Hands Dirty

Join Us For Events

HOOKED ON THE GALLATIN

Fundraiser, Celebration & Auction

July 28, 2024

Join us on July 28th to make a meaningful impact in protecting the Gallatin River - your participation is vital to preserving this precious resource for future generations.

Subscribe to the GRTF Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive news and updates from the Task Force.

You have Successfully Subscribed!