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Officials announce project to improve trout habitat in the Jefferson River Basin

Montana Trout Unlimited and the owner of a gold mine near Whitehall announced a joint project to improve spawning habitat and provide cool water for trout in the Jefferson River Basin. Sampling this spring revealed trout populations in much of the basin have reached historic lows.

The partners plan to replace three aging diversion dams along the Boulder River with new instream irrigation pumps. Trout Unlimited Project Manager Chris Edington said in a statement the project is “a win-win for trout and property owners.” He said the work will improve irrigation and boost the river’s supply of cold water.

The Boulder River is one of the Jefferson’s largest tributaries.

Organizers say design work on the project will start this fall, and construction could begin in 2025.

John joined the Montana Public Radio team in August 2022. Born and raised in Helena, he graduated from the University of Montana’s School of Media Arts and created the Montana history podcast Land Grab. John can be contacted at
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