Empty Lolo Creek Causes Problems for Ranchers, Fish - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Empty Lolo Creek Causes Problems for Ranchers, Fish

Posted: Updated:
LOLO -

For the second year in a row, Lolo Creek is running nearly completely dry, causing big problems for irrigators and already endangered trout species.

Clark Fork Coalition officials said poor snow packs have caused the lower stretches of Lolo Creek to stop flowing for the past six weeks straight.

"And, we've also had long, dry, hot summers -- very little precipitation in August and now early September," said Clark Fork Coalition Project Leader, Jed Whiteley.

Whiteley said they suspect people without water rights are pumping from the creek illegally, which also impacts water levels.

"We've had residents who have been here almost 70 years, living on the banks of the creek actually tell us that in their memory, this is the first time they can remember the creek going completely dry," Whiteley said.

Whiteley said ranchers with senior water rights have made due with the low creek levels, but those with only junior water rights have struggled to keep crops healthy with only well water.

"They have voluntarily made cutbacks this year, in their diversions to try to help out, but there's just so little water in the creek right now that event that has still led to the condition you're seeing today."

Clark Fork Coalition members said the several miles of dry creek bed have also stopped bull trout from moving off the Bitterroot River into the creek to spawn, and depleted habitats for other species.

Whiteley said, "I know it's been documented well over several hundred fish, and looks like a lot of native fish, whitefish and trout have killed in it."

Whiteley said now, the goal is to figure out how to at least keep Lolo Creek connected to the Bitterroot River during future dry years like 2013.

He said the Clark Fork Coalition has leased water rights from larger irrigators in the area to help keep water in the creek.

"We're hoping that through that research that we can come up with baseline levels that we can incorporate into a drought management plan."

Whiteley said they're also hoping to raise enough funding to hire a "ditch rider," who would patrol the creek next summer to ensure all irrigation is legal.

"And, it'll also just help us get a better understanding of where the problem areas in the creek are, where is the water going," Whiteley said.

Clark Fork Coalition officials said fire fighters pulled large amounts of water from the creek this summer to battle the Lolo Creek Complex fire, which drained the creek temporarily.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Lawyer says family of girl with Uzi is devastated

    Lawyer says family of girl with Uzi is devastated

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:24 PM EDT2014-09-03 02:24:25 GMT
    Police reports released Tuesday say a 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed a shooting range instructor with an Uzi in northern Arizona had said immediately after the shooting that she felt the gun was too much...
    An attorney for the parents of a 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed an Arizona shooting range instructor with an Uzi said Tuesday the family is devastated by the tragedy that occurred on a brief excursion during a...
  • Son of ex-Bush aide pleads guilty in Md. slaying

    Son of ex-Bush aide pleads guilty in Md. slaying

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:23 PM EDT2014-09-03 01:23:43 GMT
    The son of a former aide to President George W. Bush has pleaded guilty to killing a friend with a hatchet and will be committed to a state psychiatric facility.
    The son of a former aide to President George W. Bush has pleaded guilty to killing a friend with a hatchet and will be committed to a state psychiatric facility.
  • Recovery knocks 21 fish species from watch list

    Recovery knocks 21 fish species from watch list

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:11 PM EDT2014-09-03 01:11:56 GMT
    Twenty-one species of fish made the leap Tuesday off a watch list of seafood to avoid as unsustainably overfished, leaving conservationists and many fishermen and chefs celebrating the turnaround of a West Coast...
    Twenty-one species of fish made the leap Tuesday off a watch list of seafood to avoid as unsustainably overfished, leaving conservationists and many fishermen and chefs celebrating the turnaround of a West Coast fishing...
  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Big Sky County District Employee Arrested and Detained

    Big Sky County District Employee Arrested and Detained

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:15 PM EDT2014-09-02 03:15:37 GMT
    Cyle Kokot, an employee of the Big Sky School District, has been arrested and detained. The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office arrested Kokot for two counts of "sexual intercourse without consent.
    Cyle Kokot, an employee of the Big Sky School District, has been arrested and detained. The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office arrested Kokot for two counts of "sexual intercourse without consent.
  • Photos from Fatal Missoula Shooting Scene

    Photos from Fatal Missoula Shooting Scene

    Monday, September 1 2014 8:11 PM EDT2014-09-02 00:11:07 GMT
    One man is dead after a shooting outside of a Missoula Strip club.
    One man is dead after a shooting outside of a Missoula Strip club.
  • PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:37:17 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
  • Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Friday, August 15 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-08-16 01:03:47 GMT
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
  • Sentinel High School Principal And Assistant Principal Suspended

    Sentinel High School Principal And Assistant Principal Suspended

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:35 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:35:48 GMT
    Missoula County Public Schools suspended two of Sentinel High School's top administrators for "board policy violation."
    Missoula County Public Schools suspended two of Sentinel High School's top administrators for "board policy violation."
  • Chanin Starbuck Murder Case To Be On 'Dateline' Nationwide Friday Night

    Chanin Starbuck Murder Case To Be On 'Dateline' Nationwide Friday Night

    Thursday, July 11 2013 9:23 PM EDT2013-07-12 01:23:04 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. – It's a classic show millions of Americans have watched for years and this week "Dateline" heads to the Inland Northwest showcasing a tragic murder that left a mother dead and a father behind bars.
    SPOKANE, Wash. – It's a classic show millions of Americans have watched for years and this week "Dateline" heads to the Inland Northwest showcasing a tragic murder that left a mother dead and a father behind bars. A little more than a month ago a jury convicted Clay Starbuck for the murder of his ex-wife Chanin Starbuck.
  • Search to Resume on Tuesday for Swimmer Missing on Ennis Lake

    Search to Resume on Tuesday for Swimmer Missing on Ennis Lake

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-09-02 03:56:06 GMT
    The search for a missing swimmer on Ennis Lake has ended for the night on Monday and will resume again Tuesday morning.
    The search for a missing swimmer on Ennis Lake has ended for the night on Monday and will resume again Tuesday morning.
  • EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Mother remembers Gracie Snider

    EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Mother remembers Gracie Snider

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 3:00 PM EDT2014-09-02 19:00:41 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Two little girls, best buddies, spent the day playing soccer at a central Washington tournament in May. Gracie Snider and Ayla James were riding back from the game, laughing and talking like friends do.But just a few miles east of Ritzville on i-90 on May 3rd, the vehicle the girls were in hit a semi truck. Gracie didn't make it and Ayla was seriously hurt.
    KHQ.COM - Two little girls, best buddies, spent the day playing soccer at a central Washington tournament in May. Gracie Snider and Ayla James were riding back from the game, laughing and talking like friends do.But just a few miles east of Ritzville on i-90 on May 3rd, the vehicle the girls were in hit a semi truck. Gracie didn't make it and Ayla was seriously hurt.
Powered by WorldNow

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.