PHOTO BY MFWP
Montana's prized rivers and lakes face increasing, and increasingly complex, threats. Climate change, water quality degradation, and aquatic invasive species threaten to cause fundamental changes in river and stream food webs and ecology, that would lead to major ecological degradation and societal adjustments in our relationships to these highly valued resources.
Aquatic and riparian habitats are important for all wildlife, but they are particularly important for many species of greatest conservation need, including threatened and endangered fish. In addition, Montanans have a cherished relationship with the state's lakes and rivers. Additional action is needed for riparian and aquatic habitat protection and restoration. Maintaining in-stream flows and protecting water quality remain crucial to many at-risk species, as well as to maintaining a cultural bond to our rivers and lakes.
EXPECTED & MEASURABLE OUTCOMES
Funding aquatic habitat protection will result in:
Protection of water quantity/in-stream flows will improve habitat quantity and quality for species at risk while also increasing habitat for desirable sportfish species.
Expanded adoption of non-regulatory water quality improvement projects will improve water quality to the benefit of at-risk species, sportfish species, and human communities.
Aquatic invasive species spread will be slowed, halted, and reversed, with benefits for aquatic habitats and water infrastructure.
River and lake water temperatures will remain within acceptable limits of change.
Protection of habitat for aquatic species of special concern will help halt or reverse population declines, helping increase species abundance and avoid the need for regulatory actions to protect species.
Montanans will increase their understanding and participation in protecting aquatic habitats.