Plum Creek: Committed to Protecting Public Resources & Production of Forest Products, Lorin Hicks

Rivers, Streams and Wetland Resotration: A Multi-disciplinary Approach, John Muhlfeld


The forest products industry continues to play an important role in the Flathead Watershed contributing to the economy and the overall health of the watershed. Professionally managed forests balance the wood products industry with conservation of wildlife and human habitats. Poorly managed forestry can contribute significant sedimentation and other pollution to our waterways. Improperly built and used logging roads, skid trails, stream crossings, and landings can all contribute to degradation of the watershed.

Forestry consultants and professional logging contractors use Forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs) to prevent erosion during and after timber harvesting operations, and follow Streamside Management Zone (SMZ) laws to help filter run-off. Self-regulating industry audits have shown their BMPs (adopted voluntarily in most cases) have an extremely high rate of compliance.

Resources for Conservation Easements
Flathead Conservation District
MSU Flathead County Extension
Lake County Conservation District
MSU Lake County Extension
Montana Department of Agriculture
The Flathead Land Trust
Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
Best Management Practices for Grazing
Tips on Land & Water Management for Small Farms and Ranches in Montana
The Nature Conservancy

Montana Land Reliance

Here are some things to consider before planning a timber harvest:

The water in our rivers is the lifeblood of our terrestrial and aquatic environments, and provides numerous necessities for human life. Rivers in the Flathead Watershed have been harnessed to generate hydropower and control flooding at Hungry Horse Dam on the South Fork of the Flathead River, at Kerr Dam on the Flathead River below Flathead Lake, and at Bigfork Hydroelectric on the Swan River. While damming rivers provides power for human uses and prevent flooding, it also interrupts the natural processes of rivers, streams, and lakes by altering flow and temperature regimes, changing sediment patterns causing downstream water to be more erosive, and altering natural hydrology.

Dam operations have widened the areas along rivers and lakes often leaving them biologically unproductive. Vegetation that would normally provide secure habitat for fish and wildlife is unable to become fully established and sediment is easily eroded into the waterways. Dam managers respond to the challenges of providing power with minimal impact on natural processes by participating in management plans and mitigation activities to protect waterways and species from degradation.  Scientific research into the effects of temperature and flow regimes on terrestrial and aquatic habitat provides information to dam operators to continually improve dam operations.

For more information, send email to info@flatheadwatershed.org or info@flatheadcore.org.
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