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Big Hole Legacy Project

Big Hole River 325 Beaverhead 920

Greetings from the Big Hole Watershed Committee. I am Noorjahan Parwana, dierctor of the BHWC. Al wa s kind enough to offer me the opportunity to make a posting on this site. My discovery of this little gem of a website was serendipetous. Based on a recommendation from someone who will remain nameless, I called Al and asked if he would be the “fall guy” as part of the BHWC Drought Plan. Al very amiably agreed to help us with this thankless task and we appreciate it.

The Drought Plan is one of the first accomplishments of the Big Hole Watershed Committtee, which formed eleven years ago in response to concerns about chronic low flows. Under the Drought Plan, temperature and flow triggers instigate news releases and a phone tree asking irrigators and anglers to help restore flows and reduce stress to fish. Al is now one of the main branches on that phone tree. I hope we can keep him on board. Thanks Al.

One of the wonderful outcomes of the creation of the Drought Plan has been the sense of trust and mutual respect folks concerned about the Big Hole have developed. We make our decisions by consensus . We may not all agree on everything, but most people can agree on most things and pull togethr to craft solutions tothose problems we are all concerned about. It is an inspiration to watch the whole process in action.

Over the years, the BHWC has played a leading role in so many of the improtant efforts that keeps the Big Hole River such a beautiful and vibrant place for ranching and recreation. One of our biggest efforts right now is the implementation of habitat restoration projects dedicated to restoring habitat in the Big Hole River for grayling and wild trout. With the active support form landowners, healthier stream channel morphology (pools, width to depth rations, etc) will be restored; important spawning and thermal refuge areas in tributaries will be reconnected to the mainstem; riparian and shrub will provide shade and cover; and fencing and new irrigatin infrastructure will provide landowners better control over livestock and water management.

Our successful strategies have been recognized by Montana’s congressional delegation which resulted in funding of projects over the last couple of years. In 2003, we leveraged $200,000 into more than $500,000 of habitat restoration and water management projects. We will dedicate over $300,000 to habitat projects in the year ahead. And as Al pointed out in a recent posting, an additional $1.6 million has been committed to achieve our restoration goals.

If anyone is interested in following our progress or learn more about the Big Hole Watershed Committee, I would be happy to provide you with additional information. We are just about to mail out our first newsletter. I would be happpy to send it out to anyone who is interested. Simply get in touch with me at nparwana@bhwc.org or call me at (406)782-3682. I will make sure you get on our mailing list. Our web address is www.bhwc.org.

I appreciate the chance to let folks know about the Big Hole Watershed Committee. I hope we will be hearing from you. Happy fishing. Thanks Al.

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