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The Centennial Valley

Centennial Valley photoThe Centennial Valley is a large, high elevation, undeveloped watershed in Beaverhead and Madison Counties. The Centennial Valley encompasses approximately 385,000 acres north and east of the Continental Divide along the Montana-Idaho border. The Centennial Mountains flank the south side of the valley and the rolling foothills of Gravelly Mountain range extend to the north. The Red Rock River meanders through the broad and flat valley floor feeding Upper and Lower Red Rock Lakes. The valley contains the largest wetland complex in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem comprising thousands of acres in a mosaic of open water and emergent vegetation. The uplands on the valley floor are characterized by lowlands dominated by sagebrush, grasslands, and lush willow dominated riparian areas. The Montana Natural Heritage Program has rated the Centennial Valley as one of the most significant natural landscapes in Montana, a tribute to its intact ecological systems, expansive wetlands, diverse native fauna and flora, and unique concentrations of rare species.

In the heart of the valley is the 45,000-acre Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge was established in 1935, primarily to protect trumpeter swans and wildlife habitat. The Refuge provides core habitat for trumpeter swans; however, many of the swans nest and rear young on private land in the valley. Landownership in the Centennial Valley is predominantly public lands with 285,000 acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Montana Department of Natural Resource Conservation. The remaining 100,000 acres, primarily located on the valley floor, is in private ownership, with 90% of it controlled by 15 ranches.


For more Information, Contact:

Randy Gazda
Montana Partners for Fish and Wildlife
Dillon Ranger District
420 Barrett Street
Dillon, MT  59725-3572
(406) 683-3893
Randy_Gazda@fws.gov

photo of the Centennial Valley mountains and prairie

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