The Clark Fork Coalition will host an educational tour of Lolo Creek on Tuesday, Aug. 25.
In 1805, Lewis, Clark and the Corps of Discovery camped near the junction of Lolo Creek and the Bitterroot River while they prepared to cross the Bitterroot Mountains. Over the past two centuries, logging, development and mining took a significant toll on the native trout fishery. Lolo Creek once supplied more than 20 percent of all water to the Bitterroot River, but now faces chronic dewatering, high temperatures and excessive sediment loads.
Clark Fork Coalition project manager Jed Whiteley will discuss the state of the creek, including low flows, high water temperatures and what the organization is doing to help.
Participants will meet at noon at the Travelers’ Rest State Park’s outdoor classroom, 6717 U.S. Highway 12, near the intersection of highways 93 and 12 in Lolo.
The coalition works to restore healthy stream function and improve water quality by partnering with local groups like the Lolo National Forest and Westslope Chapter of Trout Unlimited on projects to reduce sediment, improve water quality and restore spawning habitat for native trout. The coalition also manages and monitors three water right leases on Lolo Creek that deliver more than 2 million gallons of water back to the creek during the summer and fall. Since the creek often dries up during irrigation season, the coalition continues to look for collaborative, creative solutions to help irrigators save water.
The Aug. 25 event is part of the coalition’s monthly “Water Walks and Talks” learning series, which keeps citizens informed about hot topics and recent developments in the Clark Fork River watershed. For more information on the series and the Clark Fork Coalition, visit clarkfork.org.