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Dick Creek

Location map of Dick Creek in the Blackfoot Watershed

Aerial view of Dick CreekDick Creek, a second-order tributary, flows 9 miles in a southwesterly direction, discharging an estimated base flow of 8 to 12 cfs into Monture Creek at river mile 4.0. This stream flows through low-relief moraines and flat sedge meadows. It is basin fed in the upper reaches, but goes intermittent in middle reaches from loss of water to alluvium and irrigation. In lower reaches, Dick Creek is spring fed and perennial.

Fish populations in Dick Creek were impaired by dewatering, obstructions to passage, channel dredging and losses to irrigation canals. Riparian grazing and a streamside feedlot also affected habitat. A 1.5 mile section of stream had been dredged and mechanically widened to 20 feet; a remnant channel indicates the width of the original channel averaged five feet. This section was a poor rearing environment, extremely shallow and wide, had elevated temperatures, and a formidable path for migrating bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. Irrigation and grazing practices have further altered habitat, restricting passage of fish into tributaries of Dick Creek. In order to prioritize restoration resources, we developed a fisheries-based restoration priority scorecard, based on biological, social and financial considerations, for 83 impaired tributaries of the Blackfoot River. Dick Creek ranked 5 of 83 streams surveyed.

Dick creek before restoration
Before restoration.
Dick Creek during construction
During restoration.
Restoration of Dick Creek began in 1992 with reconstruction of the dredged channel using three methods including:
  • Construction of a new channel
  • Restoration of old meanders
  • Narrowing of some dredged sections
Dick Creek after restoration
After restoration.

The restored E6 channel was constructed to conform with historic channel dimensions taken from a reference reach. Restoration of the Dick Creek Channel resulted in an increase of 6,050 feet of channel length. Further improvements to fish habitat included the reestablishment of natural clay bottoms, deepening and narrowing the channel configuration to fit a E6 channel type, adding woody debris, and creating overhanging banks.

Additional projects completed in the drainage include; restoration of several wetland basins (some of which were designed to filter livestock run-off); removing a feedlot from the streambanks, removing three fish passage barriers at irrigation diversions, hardening stream crossings used by livestock, removing a failing stream crossing structure made of logs and earth; developing several off-site water sources for livestock use; constructing several miles of fence to improve livestock management along Dick Creek and adjacent wetlands; and perpetual protection to over 3,000 acres through Conservation Easements.


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