On November 30, 2021, an angler reported shockingly low water levels on the Madison to staff at Galloup’s Slide Inn near Quake Lake. What followed was a flurry of coordination and problem solving by nonprofit conservation groups, local businesses and the public to address what we rapidly learned was a critical failure of the Hebgen Dam spillway gate. The drastic loss of flow to the Madison stranded fish in puddles and small pools, disconnected from fresh, albeit minimal, flowing water. Moreover, recently spawned brown trout redds were left high and dry and Montana FWP is still waiting to assess the possible impacts of that loss. Flows were finally restored on December 2. For nearly two days, the Madison River needed help and Montanans from all across the state heeded the call. Volunteers showed up in droves with nets and buckets to help rescue fish.
However, one of the unsung heroes of this effort is the Anaconda Foundry Fabrication Company. Tasked with fabricating a unique part from the broken gate as quickly as possible, AFFC employees worked tirelessly to replace the custom coupler, "They worked through the day and night to get the part made and delivered to dam site," said Southwest chapter leader Scott DeSena. Our humble thanks go out to these gentlemen who played a key role in the swift and safe restoration of water to our beloved Madison. As a token of our appreciation, we figured these guys could use a 'thank you' drink in the form of our Spotted Bear Spirits Midnight Forest whiskey and Yeti rambler mugs.
BHA is proud of the dedicated and quick-thinking volunteers on the Madison and glad to be part of a community that helps each other and protects our wild rivers. Thank you.