Refuge Resource Management

Pollinator Garden photo with architects

 "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise" (A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold, 1949, p. 262).

  • Past Actions

    Building Dikes b/w photo

    Many folks have contributed expertise, time and physical efforts to making the Refuge what it is; here is a pdf of past/current staff. Apologies to past seasonal or term personnel that don't appear on the staffing list; thank you for your excellent work. Also special thanks to all the volunteers that have contributed mightily to the mission and Refuge resources.

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  • Compatibility

    Not only does Refuge staff manage plant and animal life, but also people in the form of uses. A step in this process is accomplished through an action called a compatibility determination.

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  • Grazing

    Grazing on Pond 6 photo

    The cooperative farming and prescriptive livestock-grazing program is used to meet habitat- and species-specific goals and objectives identified in the CCP. This program is intended to maintain and enhance habitat conditions for the benefit of a wide variety of migratory birds and other wildlife that use the refuge.

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  • Prescribed Fire

    Prescribed Fire photo

    Vegetation in the Rocky Mountains evolved under periodic disturbance and defoliation from fire, drought, floods, large herbivores, insect outbreaks, and disease. These periodic disturbances kept the ecosystem diverse and healthy and maintained significant biodiversity for thousands of years.

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  • Restoration

    Tractor Prepared for Seeding photo

    The act of restoration involves not only biological communities, but cultural resources (Whaley Homestead) as well. Biologically, a significant part of the restoration proposals will be to control invasive plant species, where possible, and prevent further spread. Grasses and shrubs native to the uplands, including the alluvial fans, will be restored, where appropriate, to provide habitat for native wildlife including grassland-dependent migratory birds. Some wetland impoundments will be removed or reduced in size to allow for river migration or provide restoration sites with an overall long-term goal to restore the gallery and riverfront forest for wildlife that are dependent on riparian areas. Culturally, to properly interpret the Whaley Homestead while protecting the structure and visitors, the Refuge will need to determine what level of interpretation is appropriate and then work with partners to restore and interpret this historical homestead based on these guidelines.

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  • Water Management

    Headgate Installation on Irrigation Ditch photo

    "Manage and, where appropriate, restore the natural topography, water movements, and physical integrity of surface water flow patterns across the Bitterroot River floodplain to provide healthy riparian habitats for target native species and to educate visitors about the benefits of sustaining a more natural floodplain" (Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan Goal).

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  • Weeds

    Pulling Weeds at Education Pond photo

     Of the 32 weeds currently considered noxious in Montana, 15 species are present on the refuge. It is estimated that invasive and other nonnative species now affect more than 70 percent of refuge uplands. Dominant species now found in those areas include, but are not limited to, cheatgrass, smooth brome, common tansy, mustard species, spotted knapweed, and musk and Canada thistle.

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  • Trapping Occurs on this Refuge

    Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain wildlife populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge special use permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Contact the refuge manager for specific regulations.