By Published On: March 20, 2017

Small Community-led Project, Big Returns for People and Wildlife

At the confluence of the East Gallatin River and Bozeman Creek just north of the City of Bozeman, Montana, there lies a quiet example of community-based conservation. The Trust for Public Land along with the community of Bozeman is restoring the 54-acre industrialized Story Mill site to re-establish fish habitat, wetlands, and floodplains, improve water quality, and enhance migratory bird habitat. Winner of a 2017 Montana Wetland Stewardship Award for their work to restore wetland functions to the Story Mill industrial area, the Trust for Public Land is now working with community leaders to develop the restored area as a community park, providing new recreational opportunities for the citizens of Bozeman. 

“Although this project is small in scale, this newly restored site is already providing big returns for people and wildlife in the growing outskirts of Bozeman,” said Catherine Wightman, Habitat and Farm Bill Coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and Intermountain West Joint Venture’s State Conservation Partnership Chair for Montana.

Located less than two miles from Bozeman’s downtown core, the restored wetlands are part of the 60‐acre Story Mill Community Park project. The Trust for Public Land is working in partnership with the City of Bozeman on the development of this new, flagship city park slated to open in fall 2018. Situated in an old industrial area, the wetland and floodplain habitat of the Story Mill site has a history of use and habitat degradation. Restoration of this area supports improved fisheries and aquatic habitat, and wetlands, grasslands and wooded areas support the over 100 species of birds and numerous other wildlife that use the property.

This project was made possible by a diverse coalition of project stakeholders, which includes the City of Bozeman, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Montana State University, Greater Gallatin Watershed Council, Gallatin Local Water Quality District, Trout Unlimited, Sacajawea Audubon, NorthWestern Energy, and numerous local water resource professionals.

Read the full story of this collaboration for the good of people, wildlife and water here.