By David Tucker, GRTF communications manager
On August 31, the Upper Deer Creek Riparian Habitat and Access Restoration project will begin upstream of the Deer Creek trailhead in Gallatin Canyon. The Task Force is partnering with the Custer Gallatin National Forest and Montana Trout Unlimited to revegetate riparian habitat, stabilize eroded streambanks, build a user access trail system, develop a formalized parking area, and construct sustainable boat launches.
“This will be the second large-scale project to restore the ecological health of the river and improve river access,” said Emily O’Connor, Task Force conservation manager. “This location was selected as a priority due to the broad range and volume of use the site receives, as well as the severe natural-resource damage.”
During construction, much of the access site will be closed to vehicles. Once complete, the site will contain sustainable river access points, an accessible fishing platform, improved parking, and 1,414 feet of sustainable user trails. Work is expected to be completed around Halloween, with additional vegetation planting occurring in spring 2021 with the help of volunteers.
The Upper Deer Creek project is part of an ongoing effort led by the Gallatin River Task Force to reduce the level of nutrients and sediment entering the Gallatin River. These restoration projects also enhance riparian vegetation that provides shade to keep water temperatures down and restore habitat for fish.