Brief Chronology of Bitterroot Chapter of Trout Unlimited
by Marshall Bloom
- 1974 – Chapter chartered as Bitterroot Chapter of Trout Unlimited (BRTU), #080. Charter members included John Moreland, Steve Benedict, David Odell, Andy Carlson, Marshall Bloom.
- Late 1970’s – BRTU, under leadership Chapter President Dave Odell, sponsored float trip with members of Bitterroot Conservation District (BCD) down Bitterroot to highlight dewatering of river’s midsection from Hamilton to Bell Crossing.
- Painted Rocks Lake water –
In early 1980’s, BRTU , under leadership of BRTU Chapter President Marshall Bloom, worked with Pat Graham, MFWP staffer for Northwest Power Planning Council, to convince BPA to fund 2 year study of effect of supplementing instream flows during summer with 10,000 acre feet of water from Painted Rocks Lake.
Results were so compelling that MFWP agreed to lease water from Painted Rocks on an annual basis.
- Throughout the 1980’s, under leadership of Chapter President Marshall Bloom BRTU worked with local legislators, local irrigators, BCD, Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association, and MFWP to create Bitterroot River Water Users Group and to establish long-term lease of 10, 000 acre-feet. Lease was underwritten by Montana Power Company (MPC) as off site mitigation for damage to fisheries incurred by projects downstream on Columbia River owned by MPC. This water was to be managed by MFWP on behalf of the Bitterroot’s sportsmen and supplemented 5,000 acre-feet purchased in perpetuity by Western Montana Fish and Game Association in 1959. Impact of these efforts cannot be overestimated.
In mid-late 1990’s, BRTU worked with Montana Water Project lawyers Laura Ziemer and Stan Bradshaw, to arrange more permanent acquisition of the water.
- Mid-1980’s- BRTU funded studies of trout losses into ditches by Dr William Good. Studies were the first to demonstrate significant losses into Hedge Ditch and were published.
- Mid-1980’s – BRTU was major force pushing for special regulations and special management sections on the Bitterroot River.
- Mid-1980’s – BRTU convinced MFWP to institute Voluntary Catch and Release regulations for cutthroat. Popularity of voluntary program led to acceptance of mandatory C&R for cutthroat when proposed.
- Mid-1980’s – BRTU was major commenter on the Forest Plan for the Bitterroot National Forest. Comments developed by David Carr, Marshall Bloom and Doris Milner.
- Mid-Late 1980’s – BRTU, under leadership of Bill Good, carried out annual fall rescues of trout trapped in ditches and returned them to river.
- Late 1980’s early 1990’s – BRTU was major force lobbying for full time MFWP biologist for the Bitterroot. Result was hiring of Chris Clancy.
Early 1990’s –BRTU was among first Montana TU chapters to support Arctic Grayling Recovery Program and has contributed annually to the program since its inception.
- 1990’s – BRTU held first Women’s Flyfishing Classes with Jennifer Olsson (ne Smith) as instructor. These efforts continue.
- 1990’s – BRTU established Bitterroot Buggers Club. Program continues.
- Early 2000’s – BRTU, under leadership of former Pres Jack Mauer, conducted float trips to highlight extent and impact of stream stabilization projects. BRTU supported MFWP biologist Chris Clancy’s efforts to modify 310 enforcement and project requirements.
- 2002- BRTU was founding member of the Ravalli County Advisory Council, the first RAC to be chartered in Montana. Marshall Bloom served as the first Chairman of the RAC. BRTU continues to be RAC member, represented by Greg Chester.
We will be updating this history as time permits.