Cameron Creek Project
Cameron Creek is a tributary of the East Fork Bitterroot River. It enters the river near Sula, MT. As is the case with many Bitterroot tributaries it has been altered by people over the years. The stretch which this project restored was channelized many years ago and lay in a burrow pit along a section of gravel road and highway. The channelized section of stream provided little habitat for trout, and increased water velocity and erosion down stream. This section is also adjacent to the road and collected sediment as well as salt and chemicals applied to the road. The stream was returned to 600 feet of its historic natural channel. Some excavation was required as well as planting of native vegetation and installing logs for bank stabilization and habitat for fish. The $35,000 project was paid for by a private landowner, Montana FWP and the Bitterroot Conservation District. Labor was provided by several volunteers (including myself) from the Bitterroot Chapter of TU, and Fly Fishers of the Bitterroot. Work was completed in Fall of 2009.
Cameron Creek is important to several species of trout including West Slope Cutthroat and Bull trout. On a survey of the restored channel in the summer of 2010 it was obvious trout were using the new channel as several trout were observed in the section. Tributaries of the Bitterroot are critical to the spawning and rearing of wild fish and ultimately the future of our fishery. I have worked on similar projects throughout the watershed in the past, writing grants, organizing volunteers, and getting dirty. There are many opportunities for similar projects and we will continue to be involved in as many as possible.
Below are some photos of the project. Before, during and after the Cameron Creek project.