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Leverich receives new culvert to improve aquatic passage

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Leverich Canyon Trailhead. PHOTO COURTESY OF CUSTER GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST

Trailhead closed early August

CUSTER GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST

Custer Gallatin National Forest anticipates the closure of Leverich Canyon Trailhead, located just south of Bozeman, Aug. 5-19 for a project improving native fisheries habitat. The project is part of larger ongoing effort on the Custer Gallatin National Forest to improve fish passage. The road leading up to Leverich Trailhead will receive a much-needed new culvert, making fish passage easier and ultimately improving a native cutthroat trout population.

“This project is important because it secures a native westslope cutthroat trout population,” said Jake Chaffin, Watershed Program Manager for the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

Cutthroat trout are designated as Montana’s state fish and currently are recognized as a U.S. Forest Service sensitive species.

“Given the entire Gallatin River drainage, aboriginal nonhybridized westslope cutthroat trout occupy less than 1 percet of historical stream and river miles,” Chaffin said. “The Leverich Creek project improves habitat for this species by replacing a culvert that is a physical barrier to migration during some flow episodes.” 

The project will also provide a secondary benefit: road repairs to improve road conditions and drainage, and reduce sediment input into the stream. It will be a win for all trail users, and the aquatic habitat.

The work is slated to take approximately two weeks to complete. Additional delays of up to 15 to 20 minutes may occur before and after the replacement of the culvert, as equipment accesses the area and road work occurs. Users should also be aware that accessing the Leverich area via other trail systems will not allow for egress via the Leverich Trailhead. 

“We realize Leverich is a very popular hiking and mountain biking trail close to town, but we encourage trail users of all types to seek out another trail opportunity such as Sourdough, Bangtail Divide, Hyalite—including Moser or Lick Creek—or Johnson Canyon,” said Corey Lewellen, Bozeman District Ranger. “The benefits to aquatic habitat, as well as to bike riders and hikers, will be well worth the short-term impact in the long run.”

For more information on the project contact Custer Gallatin National Forest Public Affairs Specialist Mariah Leuschen-Lonergan at (406) 548-1174. For general information on trails around the forest visit fs.usda.gov/custergallatin or call the Bozeman Ranger District at (406) 522-2520.

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