Restoring O’Brien Creek, Missoula, MT
and Vicki Watson.
Environmental Studies, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812
O’Brien Creek, near Missoula,
Montana, has been altered by tree harvest, road building, grazing and
dewatering. These actions led to
loss of streamside vegetation,
increased streambank erosion and scouring, and
decreased native fish and wildlife recruitment. The Forest Service
recently closed and recontoured roads in the upper watershed while the Montana
Department of Fish, Wildlife and
Parks regraded and revegetated the lower creek to return it to a more natural
state. I monitored the efficacy of revegetation
of the newly restructured streambanks within the first year and a half of
planting. The survival rate of
plantings after the first year was only 25%, due, most probably, to the small
size of the plants, competition with exotic weeds, and the placement of the
plants well above the mid-summer water table. I recommend larger plants, placed
with their roots in the mid-summer water table, and an effort to control weeds
near the plantings.
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