Flow Restoration Page Slideshow
Before Flow Restoration
After Flow Restoration
The Clark Fork Coalition partners with private landowners, irrigation districts, and water user groups to support clean water, healthy fisheries, and working lands. We participate in water management projects that support agriculture, and benefit the rivers and streams we all depend on for irrigation, recreation, drinking water, and fish and wildlife.
Meet with landowners to learn more about your water management goals and help evaluate if any of our programs might be right for you.
Provide technical assistance and coordinate design studies of potential projects.
Write grant applications and secure cost share from state, federal, and private programs.
Conduct water right reviews and file change applications with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.
Racetrack Creek: As new owners of a water right, the Coalition is improving flows in Racetrack Creek, a key tributary in the Upper Clark Fork, by releasing water stored in Racetrack Lake, a reservoir at the headwaters of the creek, during the dry summer months. View photos and video at Racetrack Creek.
Tin Cup Creek: A new partnership increases storage at Tin Cup Lake, keeps a trout stronghold wet, and gets irrigators the water their operations need. This win-win project is a one-of-a-kind collaborative effort that shows how a little cooperation can go a long way to make sure there’s enough water for farmers and fish alike. View photos and video from Tin Cup Creek
O'Brien Creek: The Coalition leases the senior water right on O'Brien Creek, which flows into the Bitterroot River just southwest of downtown Missoula. Each summer, we place up-to-date stream flow information on our website to help water users stay up-to-speed on water use, and get to know a backyard creek a little bit better. View photos and flow information from O'Brien Creek
|Working with Water: Streamflow Restoration|
A stream is hardly a stream without water. Our projects provide much-needed water in chronically or periodically dewatered streams, creating connectivity and consistent flows between tributaries and rivers-- we aim to keep fish wet and watersheds whole.
As a water-right holder, what are my options?
We believe that clean, healthy streams can thrive alongside irrigated agriculture in our valleys. There are many incentives and options available to landowners for managing water, which can improve streamflows and a landowner's bottom line:
>> Irrigation efficiency improvements: Ditch lining, piping, or switching from flood irrigation to center-pivots can reduce the amount of water needed to meet irrigation demands. The saved water can be leased or sold to an instream use to help pay for costs associated with efficiency upgrades.
>> Water leasing: Leasing is the temporary transfer of a water right to instream flows and is recognized as a beneficial use of a water right in Montana. All or part of a water right can be leased. Landowners are compensated based on number of acres leased, the period of time, and fishery benefit.
>> Point of diversion and source changes: Relocating a headgate closer to irrigated acres, switching water sources from a tributary stream to a mainstem river, and adding a supplemental water source may provide benefits to streams.
>> Water purchases: The purchase of water allows for the permanent management of a water right for instream use. These purchases occur when landowners are changing the traditional use of a piece of irrigated ground and no longer need to irrigate that particular area.
What can CFC's tools do for you?
>> Provide financial incentives for returning water to the river, and improve the viability of your agricultural operations.
>> Reduce labor and maintenance costs of managing an aging irrigation system.
>> Pressurize water systems and reduce or eliminate the need for pumps.
>> Eliminate liabilities and safety hazards associated with open ditch systems.
>> Improve water reliability, management, and measurement.