Belmont Creek, a second-order stream,
originates on the Lolo National Forest with base flows of approximately 13 cfs. Belmont
Creek flows 11 miles southeast through a checkerboard ownership pattern of public and
private lands before entering the Blackfoot River at river mile 21.9. Two undersize
culverts were placed in Belmont Creek in the 1960's that blocked fish migrations in most
stream flow conditions. Concentrations of bull trout were documented at the culverts
for over 20 years indicating a passage problem. 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. Belmont Creek ranked 7 of 83 streams surveyed.
The large amount of fill placed over
the culverts and the difficulty with the site for bridging prolonged a solution to the
problem. In 1994, a site about 1/4 mile above the culvert crossing was used to
construct a bridge and facilitate removal of the culverts. A bull trout spawning site was
observed in 1995 above the culvert site. Additional riparian improvement projects have
been implemented including livestock grazing management and road drainage fixes.