Montana Stream Becomes First Wild and Scenic River Protected in 50th Anniversary Year

August 3, 2018

August 2, 2018

Contact: Mike Fiebig: 406-600-4061
Amy Kober, 503-708-1145

Bozeman – In a victory for bipartisanship and healthy rivers, Montana’s East Rosebud Creek became the nation’s newest Wild and Scenic River today, when President Trump signed the bill into law, adding 20 miles of the stream to the national system of protected rivers.

East Rosebud Creek, part of the Yellowstone River watershed and known for its spectacular scenery, trout-fishing and other recreation is the first river protected in 2018, the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and is the first Wild and Scenic River designated in Montana in 42 years.

“This is a great victory for public lands and waters in the 50th anniversary year of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act,” said Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers. “We applaud the local residents who have worked so hard to safeguard this special river. Protection of East Rosebud Creek enjoyed strong bipartisan support. This is a great example of how, despite political differences, rivers connect us, and how we all benefit when we protect healthy rivers.”

The legislation to protect East Rosebud Creek on the Custer Gallatin National Forest as Wild and Scenic was championed by U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D), Sen. Steve Daines (R) and Rep. Greg Gianforte (R).

The effort to protect East Rosebud Creek was supported by local ranchers, businesses, homeowners, sportsmen and conservationists including the local group Friends of East Rosebud.

The campaign to permanently protect East Rosebud Creek began in 2009, when Bozeman-based Hydrodynamics Inc. applied for a permit to build a dam on public land just below the outlet of East Rosebud Creek within the Custer Gallatin National Forest. The hydropower project, which would have been built within the Wild and Scenic eligible reach, included building an eight-foot high, 100-foot wide diversion dam, a two-mile long penstock, substation, powerhouse and transmission lines.

American Rivers and our conservation partners filed formal objections to the project and eventually convinced the hydropower company to abandon it in 2013. The protection afforded by the Wild and Scenic designation will forever prohibit construction of new dams or other harmful projects on East Rosebud Creek.

East Rosebud Creek tumbles from the Beartooth Plateau near Granite Peak, (Montana’s highest at 12,807 feet) and flows into the Stillwater River, a tributary of the Yellowstone. The area is a popular destination for trout anglers, whitewater paddlers, hikers, and rock climbers.

“There is strong momentum in local communities nationwide to protect more Wild and Scenic Rivers,” said Irvin. “American Rivers and our partners are advancing the 5,000 Miles of Wild® campaign to protect 5,000 new miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers. As we celebrate the victory on East Rosebud Creek, our work continues to ensure we leave a legacy of healthy rivers for future generations across the country.”

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About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 275,000 members, supporters and volunteers.

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