Jocko River Restoration Project
    Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
P.O. Box 278
Pablo, Montana 59855
Phone: (406) 883-2888

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Project Location
The Jocko River is a tributary of the Flathead River in northwestern Montana. From its headwaters in the Mission Mountains, to its confluence with the Flathead to the west, the river is situated entirely within the Flathead Indian Reservation. There are three primary tributaries of the mainstem Jocko River: the North, Middle, and South Forks.

Project Description
In 1998, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes finalized a Consent Decree with the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) to pay for the restoration, replacement, and/or acquisition of injured natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB), as compensation for natural resource damages basin-wide. Following an extensive natural resources inventory and restoration suitability analysis, the Jocko River watershed was selected as the target restoration watershed. The Jocko was chosen because it is most similar in size, streamflow, hydrology, and species composition to Silver Bow Creek and the Clark Fork River, the primary areas of injury in the UCFRB. In addition, the Jocko River drainage is a "core area" for the endangered bull trout. The Jocko River watershed also supports a relatively healthy population of Westslope cutthroat trout, a Tribal Species of Special Consideration and a State of Montana Species of Special Concern.

The Jocko watershed was also selected for restoration because it has the greatest danger of further resource injury due to the high rate of development in the watershed. The lower reaches of the Jocko River ecosystem have suffered significant disturbance from land use such as agriculture, irrigation, livestock grazing, transportation, and residential and commercial development. These and other cumulative water quality impacts have destabilized a substantial portion of the Jocko River and substantially modified bull trout and Westslope cutthroat trout habitat in the Jocko River, particularly downstream of the town of Arlee. These habitat modifications have exacerbated the problems of competition for existing habitat by brown and brook trout, and hybridization of Westslope cutthroat trout with rainbow and Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

Project Goals
The overall goal is to create up to 800 acres of newly constructed, restored, or enhanced wetlands or riparian areas within ten years, and make measurable progress toward restoring bull trout. To achieve this goal, the Tribes have chosen to follow four steps:

  1. Assessment to identify the areas with restoration potential;
  2. Protection of the best remaining habitats;
  3. Passive Restoration to modify the activities that are causing the degradation, or that are preventing the ecosystem from recovering; and
  4. Active Restoration, when the injury to an ecosystem has been so great that simply modifying or stopping the injurious activity is not enough.


Additional educational materials are available at Explore the River.org

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