Project Summary

The Ninemile Creek watershed is located in the Middle Clark Fork River watershed approximately 20 miles west of Missoula, Montana. It is one of the most important native trout tributaries in the watershed and one of the most affected by mining impacts. Historical mining activities significantly altered the morphology and landscape of the upper Ninemile Creek valley, compromising the integrity of the river and ecosystem by simplifying aquatic habitat conditions, increasing stream energy, and reducing floodplain connection and function. The Ninemile Creek watershed has been a focal point of cooperative restoration efforts led by Trout Unlimited.

Geum has been part of a restoration design team that includes River Design Group, Trout Unlimited, and Lolo National Forest personnel, working on specific restoration projects along Ninemile Creek since 2011. In 2012, Geum completed a reach wide assessment of ecological site potential and worked closely with other partners to integrate that information with geomorphology and hydrology data to develop alternatives to guide restoration actions. To date, three phases of restoration have been implemented and design for future phases is on-going. Restoration activities include removal and grading of relic dredge piles, channel realignment and floodplain reconnection, aquatic habitat enhancement, and riparian and floodplain restoration. When possible the historical floodplain and terrace surfaces are incorporated into the design.

Services that Geum provides for the Ninemile Valley Restoration project include:

  • Collection of ecological site potential data and preparation of a Vegetation Data Summary Report
  • Development of an alternatives analysis to guide restoration actions in the project area
  • Collection of soils data to identify the historic floodplain surface
  • Development of floodplain and revegetation design criteria to restore natural floodplain processes
  • Development of construction bid package elements related to revegetation activities
  • Wetland delineation(s) and report(s) to support project permitting
  • Coordination and oversight of revegetation treatments

Pre restoration.

Post restoration floodplain.

Post restoration channel.

Relative elevation map showing dredge piles.