For the past 5 years, Confluence has been working with the Beaverhead Watershed Committee, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the Dillon Canal Company on the Poindexter Slough Fisheries Enhancement Project near Dillon, MT. When completed, this project will improve fish habitat and flows through 4.75 miles of Poindexter Slough, a popular fishing destination due to lengthy, publicly accessible segments of the stream to anglers.

After2

New screw gates at head of Poindexter Slough

Following several years of planning, permitting, and fundraising, construction of the Poindexter Slough restoration project began in January 2015 with replacement of a headgate on the Beaverhead River to improve the flow of water in the Slough. The new headgate allows flow to be increased up to 200 cubic feet per second (cfs), promoting more sustainable habitat by flushing fine sediments, scouring deep pools, rejuvenating spawning habitat, and increasing aquatic insects. Base flows ranging between 20 and 50 cfs will be diverted into the Slough during most times of the year to provide more consistent year-round flows and generate water velocities and stream depths optimal for spawning, rearing, and angling.

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Pool excavation and fine sediment removal in Upper Poindexter Slough

 

Pool habitat was enhanced in the upper 2.25 miles of the Slough by removing fine sediments that had accumulated in the channel over several decades, and by reconfiguring the spacing, location, and dimensions of pool and riffle features. In addition, a 2,000-foot segment of the Slough just upstream of the fishing access was re-graded and narrowed to eliminate backwatering and sediment deposition caused by an old check dam that diverted water down the Dillon Canal. The check dam and headgate for the Dillon Canal were replaced with new structures placed at a lower elevation to prevent backwatering and fine sediment accumulations upstream in Poindexter Slough, while maintaining the ability to divert water down the Dillon Canal during the irrigation season. This highly acclaimed fishery is expected to rebound over the next five years.

 

A final phase of habitat enhancement in Poindexter Slough is planned for the lower 2.5 miles of channel downstream of the Dillon Canal to the confluence with the Beaverhead River. The Beaverhead Watershed Committee is in the process of securing funding for this phase, which is 100% publicly owned and managed by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. As warmer weather inspires you to get outdoors, be sure to put Poindexter Slough on your bucket list of places to visit. Contact Katie Tackett, coordinator for the Beaverhead Watershed Committee at beaverheadwatershed@gmail.com, or by visiting BWC’s website if you are interested in learning more about the project or donating to the cause!

Before

Over-wide segment of Poindexter Slough with eroding bank

After

Segment of Poindexter Slough narrowed to improve sediment transport and fish habitat. Photo taken immediately after construction.

 

Bozeman Creek Restoration Planning Continues

Posted by Admin January - 30 - 2014 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

Efforts to return Bozeman Creek to a more natural state are flowing in Bogert Park.  Read the recent article in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

 

Plans flowing for curvier, more natural Bozeman Creek

Lovell to Speak in Belgium

Posted by Admin June - 18 - 2013 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

Confluence Principal, Jim Lovell will be speaking at the WALPHY symposium in Belgium this October. Jim’s presentation will explore the trade-off between minimizing risk and maximizing ecological gain. He will also discuss how decisions concerning risk effect short and long-term costs and public perceptions of project success.

The following is an excerpt from Jim’s presentation:

The level of risk and environmental benefit one is willing to accept is always negotiable. Negotiating risk and environmental benefit affects every aspect of project development and execution; from establishing goals, to developing design criteria, selecting construction methods and materials, and evaluating success after the project is completed.

Healthy rivers and floodplains are spatially and temporally dynamic, disturbance-driven ecosystems. Riverine plant and animal communities are adapted to this natural regime of change. Historic management of river systems (e.g. dams, flood levees, bank revetment, channelization, agricultural and urban development) has typically been aimed at reducing, managing, or otherwise controlling river dynamics and disturbance. This has resulted in reductions to the environmental benefits supported by healthy rivers, such as species diversity and physical, chemical, and biological processes. Successful restoration of natural, self-sustaining, and ecologically diverse river ecosystems must, therefore, include restoration of river dynamics and disturbance regimes that support these desired environmental benefits. However, this also increases the level of risk associated with restoration projects. Risks may include property damage, personal injury, or negative environmental consequences. Restoration success relies on the degree to which we accept, manage, and balance these risks with the desired outcome of maximizing environmental benefits of healthy rivers.

For more information on WALPHY, go to: www.walphy.be

Railroad Creek Habitat Improvements

Posted by Admin May - 31 - 2013 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

Confluence has been retained by Magnus Pacific Corporation to provide construction planning and stream restoration construction oversight services for the relocation and realignment of Railroad Creek in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. The channel is being relocated as part of a larger Superfund project to separate mine tailings from the active river channel and eliminate metals contamination issues in Railroad Creek and Lake Chelan. The project is being administered jointly by the U.S. Forest Service and the EPA. Project construction is slated to begin in May, 2013.

Bozeman Creek Restoration at Bogert Park

Posted by Admin January - 5 - 2012 - Thursday Comments Off on Bozeman Creek Restoration at Bogert Park

Confluence stream restoration specialists are working collaboratively with the Bozeman Creek Enhancement Committee (BCEC) to restore Bozeman Creek as it flows through Bogert Park. For over 30 years, this popular community playground and park has been host to Bozeman’s Farmer’s Market. Bozeman Creek flows six miles within the city limits to the confluence of the East Gallatin River. Over the decades, the creek has been channelized and tunneled through downtown as the city has grown. Gary Weiner of the National Park Service is coordinating restoration and public involvement. Gary’s services are on loan to the City of Bozeman through a grant. Primary objectives of the project are to restore water quality and natural processes of the creek. Last fall, Confluence stream restoration specialists and water resource engineers performed a site analysis and developed several conceptual plans. The benefits, risks, limitations, and relative costs of each alternative were presented to the public in a meeting at the Bozeman Public Library in early November. Alternatives ranged from widening the creek at select points to alleviate flooding, to adding a secondary channel, or slightly altering the location of the stream on the west side of the park. All alternatives are designed to create a meandering stream that brings visual appeal, fish habitat improvements, and better stream flow through Bogert Park. Confluence is completing the work to the BCEC at no charge to benefit the community that we live in and enjoy. Confluence Principal Jim Lovell has extensive experience restoring streams, trailways, and aquatic amenities in urban settings. His work throughout the U.S. has included parks, golf courses, urban walkways, and subdivision wetlands and ponds. Public comment on the Bozeman Creek project is welcome through the Bozeman Creek Enhancement Project webpage.

Confluence Consulting’s water resources engineer Ronda Burns recently attended the Montana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society meeting in Great Falls. She assisted Carol Endicott, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. Carol presented “Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Conservation in Lower Deer Creek: Population Replication, Nonnative Suppression, Barrier Construction, and Piscicide”. Confluence’s role in the project was performing hydrologic and hydraulic design for a fish barrier. Confluence also completed analysis and evaluation of several weir dimensions in order to determine the minimum dimensions of a structure that would maintain a four foot leap height and super critical flow at the toe in order to be a barrier for adult rainbow trout at all flows.

Confluence Assists Clients in Grant Funding

Posted by Admin March - 4 - 2011 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

Confluence’s Marketing Director Kara Stermitz attended the Water, WasteWater, and Solid Waste Action Coordination Team (W2ASACT) Funding Workshop in Great Falls. The workshop was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Montana Rural Water Association. Confluence staff are skilled in assisting our clients in preliminary engineering reports and grant applications for a variety of state and federal programs, including the Renewable Resource Loan and Grant program, Treasure State Endowment Program, Future Fisheries, Community Development Block Grant program, State Revolving Loan fund and others. We stay abreast of program changes to offer our clients the most competitive applications.

Confluence in Our Communities

Posted by Admin October - 7 - 2010 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

Confluence staff members have been active in their communities, completing a wide variety of volunteer projects. 

Wetland scientist Brian Sandefur and Stream Restoration Specialist Mike Sanctuary have recently assisted an Eagle Scout candidate on a stormwater detention and drain next to Sacajawea Middle School in Bozeman, MT.  With Brian’s guidance, the scout created a wetland community in the drainage area.  Brian and Mike also assisted in reducing thistle and weed infestation in areas near the school.

Confluence’s principal Jim Lovell recently helped mentor youth in a youth bird hunting program sponsored by Pheasants Forever.  In the months ahead, Jim will be helping Love Inc., a nondenominational Christian organization committed to helping needy in the Gallatin Valley.  Each year, Jim and his wife Sue purchase, package, and distribute food to the needy during the holidays. 

Kara Stermitz, Confluence’s Marketing Director, is continuing to keep her fly rod wet by assisting youth in Livingston’s classrooms in their science curriculum on streams, macroinvertebrates, and fish habitat.  Kara assists in the classrooms by helping students to identify insects and by helping with curriculum on stream dynamics.    Kara also volunteers for the Park High Ranger Boosters and Livingston Football Association.  Kara assists numerous community groups in grant writing, helping to improve Livingston’s baseball fields, fund programs for disadvantaged youth, and improve community amenities.

Confluence has been retained to complete an irrigation water management study on Brown’s Gulch near Ramsay, Montana. The purpose of the study is to identify and assess the opportunities for increasing in-stream flows in lower Brown’s Gulch. Environmental goals are to improve fish habitat; mitigate water quality concerns such as temperature, nutrients, and siltation; and improve the efficiency and durability of the irrigation infrastructure. Confluence’s water resources engineer and project manager Ronda Burns, PE, will be collaborating with the private landowner, Watershed Restoration Coalition, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and private groups. Brown’s Gulch is a key tributary to Silver Bow Creek, part of the headwaters of the Clark Fork River. 

Confluence has worked on numerous irrigation studies and water resource studies with landowners.

Confluence Expands Wetland Division

Posted by Admin June - 17 - 2010 - Thursday Comments Off on Confluence Expands Wetland Division

Confluence has recently been retained by the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) to carry out a three year term contract for performing wetlands monitoring on MDT’s wetland mitigation sites throughout Montana.  Confluence’s Brian Sandefur, based in Bozeman, Montana, will be leading a team of 11 professionals to carry out annual wetland monitoring and reporting on MDT’s 23 wetland mitigation sites across the state.  All wetland work tasks will be completed to fulfill U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requirements for documenting success of wetland construction at each site.  Annual monitoring reports will be submitted to MDT and posted on their website.  Sandefur has delineated and monitored thousands of acres of wetlands and has executed numerous successful mitigation plans.  He is an effective team leader and works well with local, state, and federal agencies.