The Flathead River drainage is one of the most pristine river systems in the Lower 48 states. Originating in Canada, the North Fork of the Flathead River runs through Glacier National Park where it merges with the Middle Fork. The South Fork’s headwaters in the Bob Marshall Wilderness flow northward to its confluence above Flathead Lake—the largest freshwater lake in the West. The lower reaches of the Flathead weave through the reservation of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes. This remarkable river system is home to iconic species like grizzlies, lynx, moose, mountain lions, eagles, beaver, and bull trout. With protections in place from both Wild & Scenic and wilderness designations, the Flathead serves as a model for clean, cold, abundant streams in our watershed.

However, the Flathead is not without its challenges. The watershed sustains large agricultural operations and some of the fastest growing communities in Montana. Invasive species threaten its lakes and rivers. Drought, early runoff, and warming temperatures from a changing climate affect water levels and stress aquatic species. And the Superfund site at the now-closed Columbia Falls Aluminum Company sits along the riverbank.

Our focus in the Flathead

Boost watershed health, resilience, and protection in the Flathead by carrying out long-standing commitments and providing technical and policy support to partners, where needed.

 For the past decade, the Coalition has worked collaboratively on local or statewide growth plans and policies that encourage river- and lake-friendly development patterns in the Flathead. We partner with groups combating invasive species that threaten the Flathead’s waterways. We also support proposals that put in place long-term protections for the North Fork watershed.

Current Work

What’s happening now in the Flathead

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You Can Help

Become a fellow champion of the Clark Fork Watershed.

Through our collective efforts, the river can flow with clean, cold, abundant water so that nature can flourish and our communities can thrive. We invite you to become a fellow champion of the Clark Fork Watershed.