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 BMPs by cross fencing pastures, developing riparian pastures, and developing
off-stream watering for four miles of stream.
Off-site water development
using a windmill for power.
Warren Creek and riparian area prior
to development of riparian pasture.
After construction of riparian fence
and off-site water.
|Before and after photos of the removal and
reconstruction of an irrigation structure.
include 1.5 miles of instream restoration, removal of the last remaining feedlot,
additional grazing management, several wetland restorations, and conservation easements.