This is Bancroft Pond, located in Missoula behind the Bi-Lo grocery store near S.W. Higgins and Pattee Canyon road. Wildlife and people find valuable resources in an urban wetland. Pattee Canyon Creek supplies water to the 1-acre Bancroft riparian wetland, which lies within a 5-acre park that includes 3 ponds and some open fields. Willows, cottonwoods and aspen surround breeding ponds for many species of songbirds such as the red-winged blackbird and waterfowl like mallards and sora rails, which are seldom seen in western Montana. The ponds are home to various aquatic species such as turtles and frogs and are often visited by deer, muskrat and raccoon.

A part of this area has also been recognized as "the children's fish pond" since its creation in the 1960's when the City of Missoula, Parks and Recreation Department dredged the main pond area and stocked it with fish. Unfortunately, as the pond filled with silt, the fishery declined and eventually was lost. The city does plan to use the area for flood control and will be doing some earth moving in the spring of 2002. A MDEQ/EPA grant will provide interpretive signage, student workshops and projects, and re-vegetation materials, all of which should be completed by spring 2003. For information about future restoration of this wetland, please contact Donna Gaukler, Interim Director, at 721-7275. For more information about the park, please contact the City of Missoula, Parks and Recreation Department office at 721-7275, or online at


This is Silver Lagoon, located in Missoula. The lagoon is surrounded by riparain habitat including willows and cottonwoods. The McCormick wetland, also recognized as the Silver Lagoon for the family that donated the area, is located near downtown Missoula in McCormick Park. An irrigation channel brings water from the Clark Fork River to the ponds. The surrounding riparian habitat includes cattails, willows and cottonwoods. Mallards and other migratory waterfowl relax along their journey and feed on the fish and algae that live in the shallow wetland. Songbirds also benefit from the surrounding riparian vegetation for nesting and roosting habitat. This site also offers recreational opportunities including fishing and ice skating. The City of Missoula, Parks and Recreation Department manage the park. For more information about fishing and ice skating, or for other questions, please contact their office at 721-7275, or online at


Cattail Corner wetland was aptly named by a second grade student. A local business owner donated the 3-acre wetland at 39th & Russell to a Missoula non-profit Save Open Space to protect the area from a proposed subdivision. Cattails and other marsh vegetation offer habitat for songbirds like the red-winged blackbird, and waterfowl such as mallards. Save Open Space transferred ownership of the wetland to the City of Missoula, and it was added to Missoula's City Park system.

Landscape architects, wildlife biologists, hydrologists, naturalists, conservation group representatives and environmental consultants gave freely of their time and expertise in working with city council members, city staff and WGM to help guide development plans for the marsh in a healthy direction. The hope for the marsh is that it will serve as an outdoor semi-aquatic classroom for educators, students and the general public. The process began with a naming contest in which 250 students citywide had the chance to suggest an appropriate name for the wetland after learning about the ecosystem. The Montana Natural History Center, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the United States Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program provided wetland educational materials. Future plans include field trips to Cattail Corner with educational activities and habitat restoration. For information about field trips, wetland education opportunities and materials, please contact Wendy Sturgis of the Montana Natural History Center at 327-0405.


Another urban watershed is Pattee Creek, located in Missoula, Montana. Please click here to learn more.