Lewis and Clark Conservation District, 790 Colleen Street, Helena MT 59601  406-389-3895

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Little Prickly Pear Creek

Not to be confused with Prickly Pear Creek that starts in Jefferson County, Little Prickly Pear Creek starts out in the Canyon Creek area and flows through the hills next to Chevallier Drive before it breaks out of the hills and flows through Sieben Flats area.  

Several years ago, the FWP and others did a stream project on Little Prickly Pear Creek just before it flows into Wolf Creek Canyon, next to the Railroad.  Over the years there had been some issues with the railroad embankment and so folks got together and worked on some stream restoration.

In 2018, during run off, a high water event cause a large beaver dam to breach and whether it was that slug of water, or whether it was just high water and a new project, the site suffered some damage.

Last fall, the contractor was back out at the site doing some repair work.  

Yesterday, the Conservation District Chairman, his grandson Drake and FWP biologist Jason Mullen were onsite to do what is called “willow sprigging”.

Willow sprigging consists first of harvesting dormant willow.  It’s sometimes stored in coolers, or snowbanks or ponds prior to use.  Then a hole is made in or near the stream bank with a “spud bar” or rebar or something, just large enough to make a hole down to the wet soil, a sprig is placed and tamped into place.  There were a couple of hundred done yesterday at this site.

In addition to sprigging, the group made at least one willow facine–bundled willows that were staked into place with a large diameter willow that had been made into a stake.  These willows are placed for bank protection and will actually root and grow, making for a more stable section of stream bank.


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