For years, the Bitter Root Water Forum has been doing good work to enhance the waters of Sleeping Child and Rye creeks.
Until this year, most of that effort by the Hamilton-based nonprofit has been focused on private lands in the lower reaches of the streams that are home to bull trout and Westslope cutthroat.
This year, the organization had an opportunity to make a difference in the headwaters of the two important public waterways.
The headwaters are found on lands that were heavily logged and roaded decades ago by the Darby Lumber Company.
When the Bitterroot National Forest announced an ambitious plan to obliterate about 66 miles of roads on the Darby Lumber lands it acquired in 2013, folks with the Bitter Root Water Forum saw a unique opportunity to make their own long-lasting impact.
“When we heard about the Forest Service’s plans to complete a huge watershed restoration project, it was very appealing for us to find a way to partner with them to get even more work done in the watershed,” said Bitterroot Water Forum Executive Director Heather Barber. “We knew that it was the most impactful action that we could make for the watershed for these two important creeks.”
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