Three Dollar Bridge Riparian Restoration Project

The first project of the Madison River Riparian Restoration Plan, the Three Dollar Bridge Project is in progress. The area is a popular fishing access site at the upstream end of the restoration planning area. Project work began on May 6th once winter conditions subsided enough to begin on-the-ground work. This location receives heavy recreational use and limiting factors include reduced floodplain connectivity, altered flow regime, livestock and wildlife impacts, and recreational impacts. 

Phase one of the project, establishing 1,240 feet of formalized fishing access trails to route traffic behind riparian vegetation and direct people to specific river access points in gravel or cobble areas is complete. Formalized paths utilize 790 feet of plank bridges and 3 sections of 150 feet of crib steps.

Phase two is currently underway and involves creating a riparian management zone that allows vegetation to establish. Exclosure fence will be installed to protect vegetation. A combination of temporary electric fencing for livestock and wildlife exclosure fencing will installed with a cattle guard. Previous electric fencing that is not being utilized will also be removed from the area.

In phase three of the project traffic on existing undesirable trails will be minimized by planting vegetative screens such as willow walls. In addition, signs and maps will be used to inform the public of the importance of a riparian corridor and locations of formalized access routes. 

The project has been made possible by support from generous donors and various partners including Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Three Dollar Ranch, Geum Environmental Consulting, Northwestern Energy, Montana’s Outdoor Legacy Foundation, Montana Trout Foundation, and Three Rivers Communications.

Check back soon for project updates.

Banner photo copyright: Quincey Johnson