Nevada Creek is a major tributary to
the Blackfoot River at river mile 67.8. It flows through a wide valley comprised of
alluvial outwash in its lower 12 miles. Historically, this reach was probably a
beaver wetland complex but has now been converted to hay/grazing meadows maintained
through active control of beaver. The channel is predominately an E6 channel type
with some C3 near the mouth. Nevada Creek contributes a significant amount of water to the
overall stream flow of the Blackfoot River during low flow periods. Stream flow of
Nevada Creek in November of 1989 was 43.8 cfs at the mouth, equivalent to 39.7% of the
Blackfoot River flow. Unfortunately impaired water quality in Nevada Creek including
high temperatures, high nutrient loading, and high levels of sediment decrease, rather
than enhance water quality in the Blackfoot River.
Nevada Creek has been identified as a
major source of non-point pollution to the Blackfoot River. Water temperatures in
Nevada Creek have exceeded 79.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Nevada Creek has high levels of
suspended organic sediments and very low densities of trout. In 1990, the Nevada
Creek Watershed Improvement Project began with the North Powell Conservation District
coordinating contacts and projects on private ranch lands. The Natural Resources
Conservation Service has been the lead agency in this watershed and have been doing most
of the baseline data collection and some of the projects. EPA 319 Non-point Pollution
Source Program has provided the bulk of the funds used to improve land-use, water quality
and reservoir management.
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. Nevada Creek is ranked 62 of 83 streams surveyed. To date most of the
projects have focused on improving ranching operations to benefit water quality and water
quantity. However, a few projects sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have been completed in the watershed targeted directly at
fish and wildlife species including wetland restoration, grass seeding, grazing
management, culvert removals, fish passage barrier removal and riparian restoration.
|Before photo of Nevada Creek with
crop land adjacent to the stream and
drained wetlands in the background.
|After photo with cropland seeded back
to grass and over 100 acres of drained
wetlands restored in the background.
These projects will not only benefit fish
and wildlife species but water quality