Clark Fork Coalition
Protecting and restoring the Clark Fork watershed since 1985

Clark Fork Named One of America's Most Endangered Rivers.

Sign the Petition
Our Work

Cottonwood-Baggs Fish Passage

In the late fall of 2019, the Coalition finished a stream reconnection project on Baggs Creek and Cottonwood Creek in the upper Clark Fork. Eight miles of stream was opened to fish passage for the first time in many decades. Cottonwood Creek also benefited from a large fish screen project (the first of its kind in Montana!), which will drastically reduce entrainment of juvenile and adult trout.

The project removed the trout migration barrier at Baggs Creek by lowering the channel nine feet and re-naturalizing it. The channel now passes underneath—rather than being intercepted by—the irrigation canal. This improvement opened five miles of upper Baggs Creek to native trout passage. We built a fish-friendly rock weir diversion and headgate on Cottonwood Creek and 300 feet of new canal. Our new large (32 cfs) corrugated fish screen on Cottonwood Creek eliminates entrainment of downstream migrating trout in this irrigation system.

The overall construction cost was $270,436, with additional costs of nearly $90,000 over three years for design, permitting, and oversight. The Clark Fork Coalition, Montana Natural Resource Damage Program, and U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resource Conservation Service provided funding. That’s a lot of money going into the local economy!

Sub Basin(s)