Volunteers help protect and restore riparian vegetation at Foys Bend
River to Lake Initiative partners and volunteers helped Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) staff fence several areas at the Foys Bend Fisheries Conservation Area where new trees will be planted next Fall, to protect them from deer, and individually fenced cottonwood trees near the river banks to protect them from beavers.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) purchased this 243- acre property along two miles of the Flathead River in 2009. The high-quality, riparian riverbank has outstanding habitat values for both fish and wildlife. The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), which funded the acquisition to mitigate fisheries impacts of Hungry Horse Dam, holds a perpetual conservation easement on the property and is funding restoration work on the property.
Deer browsing is one of the biggest problems and can ruin an entire restoration project by eating young trees. Fencing, at least 8 ft high to exclude deer from the new restoration areas for the first five years of a project – or until trees are large enough – is critical to the success of restoration projects.
Last year, FWP fenced several large areas to see what trees would come up when protected from deer browsing. Within a year, hundreds of young aspen and cottonwood trees were coming up – volunteer shoots from older trees nearby. This natural restoration method is providing a great – and inexpensive – start to restoring riparian vegetation at this site.
For more information contact Kris Temple, Fisheries Lands Conservation, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks at 751-4573.