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Bitter Root Water Forum celebrates river

FWP fisheries biologist Chris Clancy brought some live native trout to the Riverfest. These two native species of trout, Westslope Cutthroat (top) and Bull Trout (bottom), are still abundant in the Bitterroot River despite the competition from non-native fish such as Browns and Rainbows. Whitefish, not represented here, are also a native trout. Michael Howell photo.

By Michael Howell

It was a day of fun and learning at River Park last Saturday as the Bitter Root Water Forum held its first annual Riverfest celebration. BRWF is a community driven watershed group that partners with landowners and local organizations to do on the ground restoration projects and community outreach and education to ensure clean and abundant water for generations to come.

Kids and grown ups alike strolled the park grounds visiting educational booths sponsored by valley organizations such as the Teller Refuge and the Fly Fishermen of the Bitterroot. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks sponsored a fish identification booth as well as a booth filled with skulls and pelts of all kinds of animals, from bighorn rams to otters, that depend on a good supply of clean water to survive.

Other booths included displays of various live water bugs, called aquatic invertebrates, an informational booth on invasive aquatic species, and a scale model of a working watershed courtesy of the Bitterroot Conservation District. Free fly casting lessons were also offered.

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