U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service logo


Bear Creek

Location map for Bear Creek in the Blackfoot Watershed

Bear Creek before restoration One of the culverts before restoration on Bear Creek

Bear Creek is a small, and until recently, severely degraded tributary to the lower Blackfoot River. The stream flows through commercial forest and small private inholdings before entering the Blackfoot River at river mile 12.2 with a base flow of 3-5 cfs. The stream lacked pools because of channelization, logging and improper grazing in the riparian area. Limited fish passage at two culvert crossings and losses of fish to two irrigation ditches were also identified problems. 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. Bear Creek ranked 49 of 83 streams surveyed.

Bear Creek before restoration
Before construction.
Bear Creek during construction
During construction.

bear Creek after restoration
After construction.

From 1995 to 1998, several steps were taken to improve fish passage, reduce irrigation impacts and improve riparian land management. In 1998, a project was implemented that included the reconstruction of 1,870 feet of B4 channel and included an additional 2,000 feet of habitat restoration. This project included riparian livestock management improvements (fencing and off-stream water) and shrub plantings along the length of the project.

In 1998, post project habitat evaluations and pre-project fish populations monitoring were completed in addition to temperature monitoring for the Bear Creek Channel Reconstruction Project. The habitat survey was undertaken in the newly constructed channel. An overview of general habitat parameters is outlined below. Bear Creek showing the effects of adding woody stems
Habitat Restoration Monitoring
Overview of habitat parameters for the 1,870 feet of the new channel, 1998
Total # Units Total # Pools Wetted Area (Square Feet) Total Woody Stems Total # Large Woody Stems
87 62 1,163 184 139
Bear Creek Population Monitoring
bar graph showing the different species of trout in 1998, 2000 and 2001

Return to the Project Location Map

Blackfoot Valley Watershed
Montana Partners for Fish and Wildlife
Regional Partners for Fish & Wildlife Home Page
Mountain-Prairie Region
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service