Did you know that 34 streams in the Bitterroot watershed, including the mainstem of the Bitterroot River, are considered impaired by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality?  The Water Forum is working on the ground to reduce sediment and temperature in our waterways by restoring stream bank vegetation called “riparian habitat,” also a key component in the water cycle.

Why are healthy riparian zones important?

  • Reduces velocity of a stream through friction

  • Decreases erosion with stabilizing roots

  • Creates shade and lowers stream temperatures

  • Provides vital wildlife habitat

  • Filters harmful nutrients and sediment before entering the stream

  • Creates higher economic value of land

The Bitter Root Water Forum restores riparian habitat through stream bank bioengineering. This approach establishes natural vegetation with healthy root systems on stream banks along with in-stream rock and log structures. This method has many benefits over relying on traditional uses of rip rap and hard armoring techniques. Not only does concrete degrade the important functions of healthy riparian zones, push erosion problems downstream due to lack of friction, and is likely more expensive, it sure is an eye sore!

To learn more about the projects, click the names below: