KALISPELL – Small dams in small creeks can have big consequences — that’s the message Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is spreading.
FWP is reminding people that building dams in creeks and streams can have negative consequences for fish.
State wildlife officials have noticed an increasing number of dams being built in small streams near campgrounds in recent years, most likely to pool water for swimming.
Building dams in creeks is illegal but if you see a dam on a creek FWP is asking that you dismantle it. Folks should also notify the local FWP office if you notice persistent dams at popular access points.
Dams are also often found at dispersed camping sites and at bridges/culverts along National Forest roads. The dams may seem harmless but they can accumulate debris and build-up over time.
Additionally, dams that are left in place can be expanded upon as new campers move into an area.
While small dams can be washed out during spring, these features often remain intact and function as a passage barrier all the way through winter.
Fish may have traveled a great distance from downstream areas and their inability to travel past a dam and spawn can impact a population for many miles downstream.
FWP says that by building dams, people limit the ability of all aquatic life from accessing these different habitats that they require at different times of the year.