River Management Meeting report

North Fork Flathead River, May 16, 2018 - by William K. Walker
North Fork Flathead River, May 16, 2018 – by William K. Walker

Debo Powers sent in the following report on the most recent public meeting on the Flathead River Comprehensive Management Plan . . .

It is time for a new Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP) to be written for our three wild and scenic rivers—the South, Middle, and North Forks of the Flathead River. In preparation, monthly meetings have been organized to get input from the public. Each meeting will be focused on one of the Outstanding River Values (ORVs).

The focus of Tuesday night’s meeting was Water Quality. Presentations were made by several experts on the water quality monitoring that has happened in the past. Data shows that water quality has not decreased since the rivers were designated wild and scenic in 1976. Climate change is one of the concerns for the future due to declining snow pack, earlier spring runoff, lower summer flows, and warmer water temperatures.

Following expert presentations, participants discussed various water quality issues in the groups where they were assigned. Each table’s discussion was reported back to the whole group and written down for those who will be writing the CRMP. Participants raised issues, such as, the effects of increased recreational use, human waste disposal, road dust abatement, oil and chemical spills by the railroad, etc.

At least 12 North Fork landowners participated in the meeting and raised concerns during the group discussions. Next month’s meeting will focus on wildlife.