Montana Public Radio

Flathead River

Work to clean up two contaminated ponds bordering the Flathead River at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company Superfund site was completed earlier this month.

CFAC announced the cleanup and removal of the two percolation ponds at the now defunct aluminum smelter in a press release. Work wrapped up on March 19. The removal of the ponds means the Flathead River returns to its natural channel.

Outside of th CFAC Superfund Site in Columbia Falls, MT.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

Work to prevent harmful sediment from flowing into the Flathead River from a former aluminum plant will begin this fall. This is the first remediation project to take place at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company Superfund site.

Courtesy of Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Energy Keepers Inc., owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, has signed a contract to sell hydroelectric power to a Washington state utility.

Sponges: These Aquatic Oddities Are At Home In Montana

Jan 5, 2020
Spongilla lacustris, a widspread freshwater sponge often found under logs and rocks in lakes.
Kirt L. Onthank (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Although many people associate these stone-like animals with the crystalline waters of the tropics, several species of sponges do occur in lakes and ponds across North America, including those of western Montana. 

A Montana based environmental research group released a report last week that shows evidence of plastic in more than half of Montana's waterways.

Westslope cutthroat trout.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

For the first time, Glacier National Park is attempting to eradicate non-native trout species and restore native westslope cutthroat trout. The project on the west side of the park specifically aims to preserve genetically pure westslope populations.

Westslope cutthroat trout.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks is proposing fishing tackle restrictions on certain sections of the Flathead River. The move is meant to protect westslope cutthroat and bull trout as angling pressure increases.

Tackle restrictions would apply upstream of the Teakettle fishing access site off U.S. Highway 2 near Columbia Falls.

Sub-basin snow water equivalent - March 1, 2019.
NRCS Montana Snow Survey Staff

February bucked all expectations of warmer-than-average temperatures and below normal snowfall.

“One of the things that is unique about this job is things can turn around pretty quickly, so you end up eating crow more often than you’d like,” says Lucas Zukiewicz, a water supply specialist with the Bozeman-based Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The Flathead National Forest is now taking comments on how it should manage the three forks of the Flathead River.
U.S. Forest Service

The last of this summer’s six public meetings on the management plan for the future of the Flathead River happens Wednesday in Kalispell.

Hosted by the Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park, it will focus on recreation monitoring and scenery, two of the river’s outstanding remarkable values protected under its Wild and Scenic River designation.

Nicky Ouellet

There’s a band of rock that starts on one bank of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River west of Essex. It drops down underneath the current and rises up on the other side. Colter Pence says this is her favorite stretch of the Wild and Scenic River.

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