In 2015, the trustees began implementing compensatory riparian restoration projects with two different partners in the upper Big River and Black River watersheds. A total of $750,000 in funding was awarded to The Nature Conservancy and the department’s Soil and Water Conservation Program through a request for proposals process. A portion of these funds were recovered from the American Smelting and Refining Co. (ASARCO) bankruptcy settlement. The funds targeted improving riparian buffers and habitat to restore or replace state and federal aquatic resources injured from historic mining.
The department’s Soil and Water Conservation Program made $250,000 available to assist agricultural producers with cost-share practices along the streams on their property throughout the upper Big River and Black River watersheds. These conservation practices consist of revegetating riparian buffers, fencing livestock out of stream corridors, stabilizing eroding streambanks and constructing reinforced stream crossings.
The remaining $500,000 was awarded to The Nature Conservancy to stabilize streambanks among five sites along the Barney and Huzzah creeks, within the Big River watershed. Streambank stabilization practices include revegetating riparian buffers and restoring streambank corridors using various engineering controls.
Summer 2020, the department's Soil and Water Conservation Program completed its restoration projects:
- 2,037 feet of streambank stabilization
- 23.8 acres of riparian revegetation
- 3,157 feet of fencing (protects stream by excluding livestock)
Fall 2020, The Nature Conservancy completed its restoration projects:
- 2,850 feet of streambank stabilization
- 13.15 acres of riparian revegetation
- 2.9 miles of fencing (protects stream by excluding livestock)
- 4 alternative water systems
- 4 reinforced stream crossings
- Long term protection of 322 acres
For information about any upcoming events, public notices and opportunities for public comment relating to this project, visit What's New in NRDAR.
This project is made possible through the joint efforts of the following groups: