The Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes purchased a 146.8-acre property along the Flathead River near Kalispell in 2011 to conserve this critical river property for native fisheries conservation. The Tribes worked closely with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) and other partners. FWP later acquired the property from the Tribes, which is now known as Otter Island Fisheries Conservation Area.
The property is largely in the 100-year floodplain and includes over 100 acres of riparian forests. It has nearly 3,340 feet of river frontage on the main channel of the river, providing important habitat for bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. Other wildlife species that use the area include beaver, mink, white-tailed deer, osprey, bald eagles, waterfowl, shorebirds, and many species of reptiles and amphibians.
Keeping the floodplain and the riparian forests undeveloped will also help protect clean water in the river and in the shallow groundwater aquifer. The Bonneville Power Administration funded the acquisition of this property to mitigate for fisheries impacts of Hungry Horse Dam. This conservation project adds to the growing network of protected lands along the Flathead River, helping maintaining the Flathead’s clean water and native fish and wildlife.