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Blackfoot River Watershed


Big Sky Magic photo of the Blackfoot River, copywritten by Lawrence Dodge, 2000

The Blackfoot River headwaters atop the Continental Divide at Roger's Pass and flows 132 miles westerly to its confluence with the Clark Fork River near Missoula.  The Blackfoot River Watershed totals about 1.5 million acres and is nestled between the Continental Divide, Bob Marshall/Scapegoat Wilderness Area, and Garnet Mountains.  Land ownership in the watershed is 49% Federal, 5% State of Montana, 20% Plum Creek Timber Company, and 24% private.  In general, public lands and significant portions of Plum Creek Timber Company land comprise the forested, mountain areas while private lands are located in the foothills and lower valley floor.

The Blackfoot Valley was shaped by glacial ice and a large glacial lake in the latter part of the Pleistocene Era.  Geologic, hydrologic, and geographical features combine to produce a wide array of plant and animal communities within the Blackfoot Watershed.  The main source of this diversity is the wetland features associated with glacial lakes and ponds, bogs and fens, basin fed creeks and spring creeks, scrub/shrub riparian areas, and cottonwood forests.  The rolling, glacially formed landscape also provides the template for a rich assemblage of upland communities that include grasslands, sagebrush steppe, aspen groves, and pine forests.

Unlike most other major valleys in western Montana, the Blackfoot Valley is relatively undeveloped.  The valley has seen limited residential subdivision, and ranching remains the principle agricultural use.


For More Information, Contact:

Greg Neudecker
Upsata Lake National Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 66
Ovando, MT  59854
(406) 793-7400
Greg_Neudecker@fws.gov

 

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