The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) have a strong conservation and restoration program in the Flathead Watershed to protect native fish and wildlife of cultural significance for the Tribes. In 2015, CSKT programs protected over 361 acres and 1.2 miles of stream in-perpetuity through land acquisitions, primarily in the Jocko River watershed, a tributary to the Lower Flathead River. These projects increase the Tribal lands managed for fish and wildlife to over 18,000 acres and help protect over 60 miles of stream, both on and off the Flathead Indian Reservation.
Flying from the Flathead Valley north of Flathead Lake to the pothole wetlands of the Flathead Indian Reservation, one gets a bird’s eye view of the land. The lands and waters at both ends of the valley are connected by the birds that depend on healthy habitat during their migratory flights, stopping to feed in the north and to breed in the south.
Trumpeter Swans, re-introduced 20 years ago on the Reservation, are now expanding their territory to nest in the Flathead River sloughs north of the lake. Conservation work at both ends of the valley is paying big dividends in sustaining clean water, healthy habitat, and iconic fish and wildlife, much to the delight of everyone who appreciates seeing swans on the wing or cygnets paddling in a pond.
Visit CSKT’s Natural Resources Program to learn more.