Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL)

In the mid-2000s, BWC began working with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to develop plans for Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for the lower Beaverhead Watershed. TMDLs indicate the amount of “pollution” a stream can contain, while still providing water safe enough to meet the uses on that stream. Pollutants can be sediment, nutrients, metals, temperature etc. For example, there is always some level of sediment in a stream, and that’s healthy and natural. But at a certain concentration, it begins to impair aquatic insect and fish habitat and health. DEQ is EPA’s designated management authority for protecting state waters and has worked with dozens of watershed groups in the state to develop and implement TMDLs. BWC’s role in this process is to assist DEQ in identifying the causes and sources of watershed problems, work with a coalition of stakeholders to find and implement solutions, and develop a locally-based, locally-driven Watershed Restoration Plan.

Learn more about TMDLS.

Watershed Restoration Plans

In 2013, the first Watershed Restoration Plan for the Lower Beaverhead was completed. It includes projects on Stone Creek, Spring Creek, Dyce Creek, Clark Canyon Creek, and Poindexter Slough which were completed by 2017. BWC wrote a second Watershed Restoration Plan in 2017 to plan for the next five years in the lower Beaverhead watershed. The focus of this plan is to prioritize projects in the Grasshopper and Blacktail-Deer Creek Basins. If you have comments or concerns that you would like identified in the Watershed Restoration Plan, please email

View the 2013 Lower Beaverhead Watershed Restoration Plan here.

In 2017, BWC hired an assistant watershed coordinator, Zach Owen, to focus on enhancing the upper end of the Beaverhead Watershed including Horse Prairie and Red Rock basins. DEQ has monitored these basins to create TMDLs. Once the data has been assessed, we’ll write a Watershed Restoration Plan for the upper end of the Beaverhead Watershed. If you have any comments of concerns that you would like identified in the Watershed Restoration Plan, please email