Work to stabilize streambanks and improve river access on the Gallatin River began at Moose Creek Flat recreation area in October 2017. Restoration work at Moose Creek is the first of a series of projects lead by the Gallatin River Task Force and the Custer Gallatin National Forest to enhance access and safety and restore riparian habitat at public river access sites along the Gallatin corridor.
In 2015, the Task Force mapped 111 public river access sites between the Yellowstone National Park boundary and Spanish Creek to prioritize sites for future restoration work. The first project focuses on the Moose Creek recreation area, a heavily trafficked public day-use area and campground with severe erosion and streamside vegetation damage.
Healthy streamside areas are vegetated by willows and other riparian plants. Streamside vegetation filters pollutants and excess nutrients; shades water, cooling water temperatures; holds streambanks together; and creates habitat for fish and other wildlife.
Loss of streamside vegetation and heavy recreational use at Moose Creek contribute excess fine sediment (sand, mud, or clay) to the river and threaten the health of the fishery. Excess fine sediment negatively harms trout by covering spawning habitat, reducing visibility, and impacting breathing. In addition, severely undercut and unstable streambanks threaten public safety.
The Moose Creek restoration project focuses on stabilizing streambanks enhancing streamside vegetation, concentrating impact with trails and fencing, building a boat ramp and tiered kayak launch, and installing two educational interpretive signs.
The first phase of the Moose Creek restoration project, including the boat ramp, kayak launch, trails, and streambanks restoration, was completed in Fall 2017. Additional streambank restoration and fencing will be completed in the in Spring 2018.
The Moose Creek restoration project is the first of many, which will ensure the long-term health of the Gallatin River. The next sites slated for improvements in the Upper Gallatin are Deer Creek, Doe Creek, and Baetis Alley. Learn more about Upper Gallatin River Access Restoration Projects here.
The Moose Creek Flat Restoration Project was supported by the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation, Custer Gallatin National Forest, Moonlight Community Foundation, Patagonia World Trout Initiative, Boundary Expeditions, Big Sky PBR, Gallatin Resource Advisory Council, Madison Gallatin Trout Unlimited, Geyser Whitewater Expeditions, Spanish Peaks Community Foundation, and individual donors.