One of the most successful steps taken so far in the grayling recovery program is the La Marche Creek project. Dave Guckenberg who is the owner of the La Marche Creek Ranch worked hand in hand with the Montana FWP to make this a model endeavor. They fenced the entire stream from the Forset Service boundary down to Hwy 43 to eliminate riparian damage from grazing cattle. This fence was also built to be wildlife friendly. In the fall after the cattle are taken off this fence is collapsed to allow for migrating deer and elk to pass through. Several holes were dug in the stream bed to act as holding water for spawing fish. After just one year this project turned out to be a huge success. According to survey’s done by the FWP (fish, wildlife & parks) it didn’t take long for the fish to find these ideal conditions. This is just the first of several similar projects on tributaries in the upper Big Hole. La Marche Creek originates high in the Pintlar Wilderness area and it’s clear cold water is allowed to flow free to it’s confluence with the Big Hole. This one project will not by itself be a cure all but it’s one helluva start and will act as a role model for others. My hat is off to Dave, the FWP and the Big Hole Watershed Committee for working together to achieve this goal.
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