I oppose the proposal to remove the rock weir at Elbow Lake by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.
This comment is based upon consultation with experts in water law and fisheries science. The migration of bull trout (a threatened but not endangered species in Montana) is certainly important and generally requires cold, clean water, but large inflows of warm water tend to deter their migration — which the Clearwater certainly has; however, FWP states bull trout are migrating as far as Morrell Creek — this fact, plus the fact the agencies have no intention of removing the weirs above or below Elbow Lake, means removing the weir at Elbow will have little effect on the limited migration that is occurring.
What this action will affect are humans — hundreds who use, recreate and enjoy this lake!
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The impoundment at Elbow predates the 1973 Montana Water Use Act and therefore enjoys historic water rights. The Elbow weir is not illegal, the 310 permit should be reinstated and a reasonable compromise reached that involves an association, bylaws and covenants that satisfy FWP guidelines.