In the Summer of 2022 Watershed Consulting partnered with Timberland Excavating & Big Hole Watershed Committee to build a fish passage structure on French Creek in the former Phoenix placer mine near Wise River, MT. The goal of the project was to restore fish passage for Arctic Grayling in the headwaters of French Creek. Hydraulic placer mining operations in the early 20th century stopped abruptly when bedrock was reached at the top of the mining complex. The result of the mining was an abrupt headwall 30’ in elevation difference between the top and the bottom of the cut, causing a barrier to fish migration in the creek. The headwall was reduced to a 15% slope from near 50%, and a series of step pools were built to provide passage for Arctic Grayling.

Upper French Gulch Fish Passage Project