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Warren Creek

Location map for Warren Creek in the Blackfoot Watershed

Warren Creek, a second-order tributary to the middle Blackfoot River, originates on the north side of the Ovando Valley and flows 14 miles to its confluence with the Blackfoot River at river mile 50. Its base flow is an estimated 5 cfs. Warren Creek flows through knob-and-kettle topography, alluvial outwash plains, and ranch lands. Its water is used for irrigated hay production and livestock water. Irrigation withdraw causes the middle section of Warren Creek to dewater, but the lower section is influenced by springs and remains perennial.

Some riparian areas in the mid to lower portions of the stream have been cleared, heavily grazed, dredged and straightened. These activities have destabilized banks, elevated sediment levels, lowered stream flows and formed barriers to fish passage. Several culverts and irrigation structures have also altered channel dimensions and created fish barriers. A fish kill was reported in lower Warren Creek on June 23, 1992, probably a result of dewatering and temperature stress. 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. Warren Creek ranked 13 of 83 streams surveyed.

Restoration activities have focused on improving water quality and fish habitat improvements on five ranches and on Plum Creek Timber Companies Land. Through 2001, completed projects include removing four feedlots from the stream, removing four fish passage barriers, implementing improved riparian grazing BMP’s by cross fencing pastures, developing riparian pastures, and developing off-stream watering for four miles of stream.

Windmill and stock tank
Off-site water development
using a windmill for power.
Warren Creek before restoration
Warren Creek and riparian area prior
to development of riparian pasture.
Warren Creek after restoration
After construction of riparian fence
and off-site water.

 

before photo of Warren Creek with an irrigation structure after photo of Warren Creek
Before and after photos of the removal and reconstruction of an irrigation structure.

Additional projects include 1.5 miles of instream restoration, removal of the last remaining feedlot, additional grazing management, several wetland restorations, and conservation easements.


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Blackfoot Valley Watershed
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Mountain-Prairie Region
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service