Bison Range Reach Restoration

Jocko K Headworks

Project Overview

The Bison Range Reach of the Jocko River plays an irreplaceable ecological role in the Jocko watershed — it is the gateway for migratory salmonids that move among the Jocko, Flathead, and Clark Fork rivers to complete their life histories. This stream reach is critical to cold-water fish seeking thermal refuge as the Flathead River warms during summer. However, the reach has been impaired by a suite of anthropogenic disturbances that have diminished its capacity to provide the range of quality habitats it once did. Habitat degradation and hydromodification are outcomes of both private and federal actions. For example, 65 percent of reach of river has been channelized and contained by rip-rapped levees; it is almost entirely disconnected from its former floodplain. These conditions raise water temperatures, simplify the fish habitat, reduce floodplain diversity, and cause increased sedimentation in the downstream reaches. 

The project, as defined, will generally restore the river to its pre-disturbance planform, increase connectivity between the river and floodplain surface and groundwater, reduce water temperatures, and notably improve the existing condition and future potential for instream, floodplain, and adjacent riparian habitats. The project will enhance floodplain plant community diversity, benefitting both ecological and cultural resources.

The Jocko River Bison Range Restoration Reach is a crowning jewel of a large-scale watershed restoration effort aimed at improving habitat and water quality to benefit native fish and wildlife species.

Workflow Timeline
  • Design: 2023 
  • Construction: 2024-2026
Project Team
  • CSKT 
  • BIA
  • Design Consultant: River Design Group, Geum Environmental Consulting
  • Contractor: TBD
Status Update
  • Summer 2023 – Conducting baseline assessments, survey and design work 

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