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Title: Evaluation of Management of Water Releases for Painted Rocks Reservoir, Bitterroot River, Montana, 1983-1986, Final Report.

Abstract

This study was initiated in July, 1983 to develop a water management plan for the release of water purchased from Painted Rocks Reservoir. Releases were designed to provide optimum benefits to the Bitterroot River fishery. Fisheries, habitat, and stream flow information was gathered to evaluate the effectiveness of these supplemental releases in improving trout populations in the Bitterroot River. The study was part of the Northwest Power Planning Council's Fish and Wildlife Program and was funded by the Bonneville Power Administration. This report presents data collected from 1983 through 1986.

Authors:
 [1]
  1. (Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Missoula, MT)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Sponsoring Org.:
United States. Bonneville Power Administration.
OSTI Identifier:
901543
Report Number(s):
DOE/BP-13076-2
R&D Project: 198346300; TRN: US200714%%249
DOE Contract Number:
1983BP13076
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION; EVALUATION; FISHERIES; HABITAT; MANAGEMENT; MONTANA; PLANNING; RIVERS; TROUT; WATER; Steam measurements - Montana - Bitterroot River

Citation Formats

Spoon, Ronald L. Evaluation of Management of Water Releases for Painted Rocks Reservoir, Bitterroot River, Montana, 1983-1986, Final Report.. United States: N. p., 1987. Web. doi:10.2172/901543.
Spoon, Ronald L. Evaluation of Management of Water Releases for Painted Rocks Reservoir, Bitterroot River, Montana, 1983-1986, Final Report.. United States. doi:10.2172/901543.
Spoon, Ronald L. 1987. "Evaluation of Management of Water Releases for Painted Rocks Reservoir, Bitterroot River, Montana, 1983-1986, Final Report.". United States. doi:10.2172/901543. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/901543.
@article{osti_901543,
title = {Evaluation of Management of Water Releases for Painted Rocks Reservoir, Bitterroot River, Montana, 1983-1986, Final Report.},
author = {Spoon, Ronald L.},
abstractNote = {This study was initiated in July, 1983 to develop a water management plan for the release of water purchased from Painted Rocks Reservoir. Releases were designed to provide optimum benefits to the Bitterroot River fishery. Fisheries, habitat, and stream flow information was gathered to evaluate the effectiveness of these supplemental releases in improving trout populations in the Bitterroot River. The study was part of the Northwest Power Planning Council's Fish and Wildlife Program and was funded by the Bonneville Power Administration. This report presents data collected from 1983 through 1986.},
doi = {10.2172/901543},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 1987,
month = 6
}

Technical Report:

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  • The Bitterroot River, located in western Montana, is an important and heavily used resource, providing water for agriculture and a source for diversified forms of recreation. Water shortages in the river, however, have been a persistent problem for both irrigators and recreational users. Five major diversions and numerous smaller canals remove substantial quantities of water from the river during the irrigation season. Historically, the river has been severely dewatered between the towns of Hamilton and Stevensville as a result of these withdrawals. Demands for irrigation water from the Bitterroot River have often conflicted with the instream flow needs for trout.more » Withdrawals of water can decrease suitable depths, velocities, substrates and cover utilized by trout (Stalnaker and Arnette 1976, Wesche 1976). Losses in habitat associated with dewatering have been shown to diminish the carrying capacities for trout populations (Nelson 1980). Additionally, dewatering of the Bitterroot River has forced irrigators to dike or channelize the streambed to obtain needed flows. These alterations reduce aquatic habitat and degrade channel stability. Odell (personal communication) found a substantial reduction in the total biomass of aquatic insects within a section of the Bitterroot River that had been bulldozed for irrigation purposes. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MDFWP) has submitted a proposal to the Northwest Power Planning Council for the purchase of 10,000 acre-feet (AF) of stored water in Painted Rocks Reservoir to augment low summer flows in the Bitterroot River. This supplemental water potentially would enhance the fishery in the river and reduce degradation of the channel due to diversion activities. The present study was undertaken to: (1) develop an implementable water management plan for supplemental releases from Painted Rocks Reservoir which would provide optimum benefits to the river: (2) gather fisheries and habitat information to evaluate the effects of dewatering in the river: (3) obtain baseline information that would aid in determining the effectiveness of supplemental water releases in improving the fisheries resource. The study was initiated in July 1983.« less
  • Baseline fisheries and habitat data were gathered during 1983 and 1984 to evaluate the effectiveness of supplemental water releases from Painted Rocks Reservoir in improving the fisheries resource in the Bitterroot River. Discharge relationships among main stem gaging stations varied annually and seasonally. Flow relationships in the river were dependent upon rainfall events and the timing and duration of the irrigation season. Daily discharge monitored during the summers of 1983 and 1984 was greater than median values derived at the U.S.G.S. station near Darby. Supplemental water released from Painted Rocks Reservoir totaled 14,476 acre feet in 1983 and 13,958 acremore » feet in 1984. Approximately 63% of a 5.66 m{sup 3}/sec test release of supplemental water conducted during April, 1984 was lost to irrigation withdrawals and natural phenomena before passing Bell Crossing. A similar loss occurred during a 5.66 m{sup 3}/sec test release conducted in August, 1984. Daily maximum temperature monitored during 1984 in the Bitterroot River averaged 11.0, 12.5, 13.9 and 13.6 C at the Darby, Hamilton, Bell and McClay stations, respectively. Chemical parameters measured in the Bitterroot River were favorable to aquatic life. Population estimates conducted in the Fall, 1983 indicated densities of I+ and older rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) were significantly greater in a control section than in a dewatered section (p < 0.20). Numbers of I+ and older brown trout (Salmo trutta) were not significantly different between the control and dewatered sections (p > 0.20). Population and biomass estimates for trout in the control section were 631/km and 154.4 kg/km. In the dewatered section, population and biomass estimates for trout were 253/km and 122.8 kg/km. The growth increments of back-calculated length for rainbow trout averaged 75.6 mm in the control section and 66.9mm in the dewatered section. The growth increments of back-calculated length for brown trout averaged 79.5 mm in the control section and 82.3mm in the dewatered section. Population estimates conducted in the Spring, 1984 indicated densities of mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) greater than 254 mm in total length were not significantly different between the control and dewatered sections (p > 0.20). Young of the year rainbow trout and brown trout per 10m of river edge electrofished during 1984 were more abundant in the control section than the dewatered section and were more abundant in side channel habitat than main channel habitat. Minimum flow recommendations obtained from wetted perimeter-discharge relationships averaged 8.5m{sup 3}/sec in the control section and 10.6m{sup 3}/sec in the dewatered section of the Bitterroot River. The quantity of supplemental water from Painted Rocks Reservoir needed to maintain minimum flow recommendations is discussed in the Draft Water Management Plan for the Proposed Purchase of Supplemental Water from Painted Rocks Reservoir, Bitterroot River, Montana (Lere 1984).« less
  • During 1978-79, seven test holes were drilled by Bendix Field Engineering Service under contract to the U.S. Department of Energy for the purpose of assessing the uranium content of lower Tertiary sedimentary rock in the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys of west-central Montana. Six of the holes were cased by the U.S. Geological Survey and Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology for hydraulic testing and measurement of geothermal gradients in the valley fill and one was abandoned. Hotter than normal temperatures or higher geothermal gradients in the test holes could reveal extensive reservoirs for hot water in the deep aquifers. Themore » purpose of this report is to present and to analyze briefly the results of thermal logging of the holes.« less
  • Kerr Hydroelectric Dam is located at the south end of Flathead Lake, controls water levels on the lake and the Flathead River below the dam, and is currently operated as a load control facility. Current operation of Kerr Dam creates the greatest yearly water level fluctuations on both the lake and river during the Canada goose (Branta canadensis moffitti) brood and nesting period. Data collected from 1980-1982 indicated that goose nest numbers on the river were lower than during the 1950's, and that brood habitat on the lake may be limiting the goose population there. Our study was conducted frommore » 1983-1987 to determine the effects of Kerr Dam operation on Canada goose populations and habitat on the south half of Flathead Lake and the Flathead River, and to formulate management and mitigation recommendations. Nesting geese on the river appeared to be negatively affected by a lack of nest sites free from predators, and responded to available artificial nest structures with an increase in nest numbers and nesting success. Under current dam operation, river channel depths and widths do not discourage access to nesting islands by mammalian predators during some years and high predation on ground nests occurs. Intensively used brood areas on the lake and river were identified and described. Brood habitat on the lake was lower in quality and quantity than on the river due to dam operations. Gosling mortality on the lake was high, almost 2 times higher than on the river. Lake broods expended more energy obtaining food than river broods. Losses of brood habitat in the form of wet meadow marshes were documented and mitigation options developed. Management/mitigation alternatives and monitoring methods for nesting and brooding geese were identified.« less
  • Population parameters of smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieui) and largemouth bass (M. salmoides) were studied during 1975 and 1976, before expansion of surface coal mining adjacent to the Tongue River Reservoir in southeastern Montana. Reproductive success, as determined by alongshore seining, varied in different areas of the reservoir and may be correlated to turbidity. Population estimates were obtained at night during spring and fall 1976 with boat electrofishing gear. For yearling and older smallmouth bass the fall population of 13.0 fish/ha and the standing crop of 2.03 kg/ha represented 80 and 84 percent of the totals for basses in the reservoir.more » The largemouth bass population and standing crop during fall 1976 was 3.2 fish/ha and 0.32 kg/ha.« less