Dry Cottonwood Creek Restoration

  • July 16, 2018
  • Posted by Sarah Bowen

Working with the Clark Fork Coalition, our objective was to build two separate rectangular enclosures of jack and rail fencing to keep out the grazing cattle and allow the creek to return to its natural flow.
The Dry Cottonwood Creek is a tributary stream in the Clark Fork Watershed that is critical for the spawning of the Westslope Cutthroat Trout (state fish in Montana.)

One morning, a fog poured over the Mountain. It crashed into the valley where we stood. Our single jacks hung limp in our hands, in awe from what we had just been witness to. Within seconds we were engulfed in a dense wet mist.
The rain came. Water sloshed in our boots as we heaved long rails cut from Lodgepole Pines over our shoulders, marching through the bog that once was Dry Cottonwood Creek. The Cutthroat Trout long to return to swim up this creek to spawn new life, a cycle they had once known before the rancher’s cattle had stamped out the creek, cutting off their path. With every swing of the hammer and every log heaved into place a relationship is being forged between ourselves and the trout and ourselves and the land. There is reciprocity. We give to the land and the land gives back.


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