December 1, 2018
Natural Resources Damage Program
P.O. Box 201425
Helena, MT 59620-1425
Re: The Montana Natural Resources Damage Program’s Upper Clark Fork River Basin Aquatic and Terrestrial Resources Restoration Plans 2018 Draft Update
To Whom It May Concern at the Natural Resource Damage Program:
The Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (MTBHA) is writing you to express our organization’s support for the Upper Clark Fork River Basin Aquatic and Terrestrial Resources Restoration Plans 2018 Draft Update.
Our members include 2,800 Montana hunters, anglers and others who adamantly champion North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands and waters. We appreciate this 2018 draft update due to its essential funding it provides to restore degraded fisheries and to conserve wildlife habitat across the Clark Fork watershed.
We are glad to see that instream flow augmentation is the most important part of aquatic restoration identified in these Restoration Plans. Though technically and legally challenging, the preservation of water resources will only become increasingly important over time in a warming climate for long-term basin-wide restoration.
Rock Creek is a beloved fishery and the high density/quality of this waterway’s recreational values make it a crucial stretch for conservation action. The work outlined and funding allocated to Rock Creek in these Restoration Plans will be very beneficial and is supported by MTBHA.
Basin Creek is an underappreciated stretch of water with locations that provide outdoor access to members of the Butte community. MTBHA is highly supportive of the proposed plan elements to restore this watershed and its recreational fishing. The trails and other infrastructure at the Basin Canyon Picnic Area are often utilized and securing access to the Basin Creek Reservoir to the public will greatly heighten this location’s value.
The general improvement of fish and human passage along the Clark Fork River is highly supported by MTBHA. The conservation of current and future recreation opportunities along this stretch of water with long-term vision and funding is fundamental to upcoming generations outdoor enjoyment of this region.
Within these Restoration Plans, we are pleased to see the monitoring and research investment incorporated. Establishing and maintaining a science-based management with funding allocated to support this is crucial, particularly when addressing prioritized and degraded tributaries now and into the future as new information arises around these waterways.
Thank you sincerely for considering our comments,
The Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers