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Blackfoot fishing

Scott Cable, Fraser Bliss and Erik Wilson put into the Blackfoot River at Johnsrud for an afternoon fishing trip recently. Efforts to restore the fishery on the Blackfoot have brought it back from a river with only small rainbow trout in the 1980s to a destination angling waterway.

TOM BAUER, Missoulian

Nearly $400,000 in funding was approved recently by the Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission for 16 projects to improve Montana fisheries.

The Commission approved the Future Fisheries Improvement Program (FFIP) projects submitted for the winter funding cycle in areas across Montana, including eleven that are west and six that are east of the Continental Divide.

The fisheries improvements will help Arctic Grayling, Bull Trout, Westslope Cutthroat Trout, Mountain Whitefish, Brown Trout, Brook Trout, and Rainbow Trout. Work includes stream channel restoration, removal of mine tailings, riparian fencing, removing undersized culverts, creating fish passage around diversion dams, keeping fish out of an irrigation canal, and increasing flow to streams, and more.

This year's funding was matched by more than $1.9 million from outside sources. Watershed groups, governmental agencies, landowners, and others submitted a total of 17 proposed projects.

Applications for the FFIP summer-cycle grants are due May 31, 2018 to FWP's Fisheries Habitat Bureau. Application forms are available on FWPs website and from FWP regional offices or the headquarters in Helena.

Any individual or group with a project designed to restore or enhance habitat for wild or native fish may apply for FFIP funding. Applicants are encouraged to work with local FWP fisheries biologists. Landowners and other project partners usually share project costs, extending FFIP dollars.

More information and FFIP applications are available on FWP's website at Select the Fish & Wildlife Tab, choose Habitat, then Fish, scroll down to find the link to the Future Fisheries Improvement Program.

Approved FFIP projects

Missoula Area

• Granite Creek Culvert Removal and Fish Passage (Missoula County)

• Green Canyon Creek Fish Passage (Granite County)

Helena Area

• Prickly Pear Creek Trynan Fish Passage (Lewis & Clark County)

• Deep Creek Instream Flow (Broadwater County)

• Elliston Creek Riparian Fence (Powell County)

• Monarch Creek Culvert Replacement (Powell County)

Lincoln Area

• Lincoln Spring Creek Restoration (Lewis & Clark County)

• Nevada Creek Fish Screening (Powell County)

• North Fork Keep Cool Creek Fish Passage (Lewis & Clark County)

• Poorman Creek Instream Flow (Lewis & Clark County)

• Poorman Creek Mining Restoration (Lewis & Clark County)

Bozeman Area

• Moose Creek Gallatin Restoration (Gallatin County)

Butte Area

• North Fork Dry Cottonwood Creek Habitat Enhancement (Deer Lodge County)

• South Fork Dry Cottonwood Creek Culvert Replacement (Deer Lodge County)

• Rock Creek Realignment (Beaverhead County)