The Yaak Valley Forest Council began the Headwaters Restoration Partnership in 1999 as a rehabilitation and restoration project to improve habitat for native fish species in the Yaak River watershed. Over twenty years later, our Headwaters Program has expanded to include Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) testing and prevention, non-invasive genetic testing for fish species distributions, weed abatement and noxious weed removal along the Yaak River, large-scale road decommission and road-to-trail conversions, water quality monitoring of the Yaak River watershed, and sediment source identification and removal.
As we work to enhance and preserve the Yaak’s precious aquatic resources, our partnership with federal and state agencies and the greater Yaak Valley community grows stronger every year. Our project partners include the U.S. Forest Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, other local conservation groups, local businesses, and volunteers passionate about protecting and preserving native fish habitat in the wild Yaak.
We are taking steps to expand the effectiveness of the program,working to bring our efforts across the border into the British Columbia portion of the Yaak. The main stem of the river originates in Canada (as the Yahk River) and the West Fork starts in the U.S., flows into Canada, and then flows south again across the border. Working with conservation groups and ministry biologists north of the border is a priority. We need to make sure that our efforts are duplicated in Canada so that the river is preserved and restored for future generations.