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Stream and Riparian Restoration

Stretching like fingers into the prairie, prairie streams once supported a diverse array of plants and wildlife, including nearly half of all prairie birds.

However, over the last century, much of this habitat and its diversity have been lost. Fortunately, American Prairie holds several intact riparian sites that harbor impressive biodiversity. These sites provide both a glimpse of the flora and fauna that a restored habitat can support and the raw materials with which to renew degraded sections.

Restoration In Action

In 2007, we worked with World Wildlife Fund, Oxbow Inc., and Hoitsma Ecological to restore a half-mile segment of Box Elder Creek that was farmed as an alfalfa field at least 70 years. Supported by a grant from Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks’ Future Fisheries Fund, the restoration project involved digging a new channel that reconnects Box Elder’s 27-square mile watershed to Telegraph Creek. The Montana Conservation Corps supported the project by installing 1,500 plants along the channel. The same year, three dams were removed on Telegraph Creek to help restore natural flows and connectivity.

The Vision

Our long-term goal for the restoration of streams and riparian habitats is to facilitate highly functional prairie stream systems that support the highest possible variety of native fish, amphibians, birds, and native vegetation.