Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) A push to restore a degraded stretch of Grant Creek will finally move forward next spring thanks to a grant secured by the City of Missoula.

Andy Schultz, a city engineer, said the project is fully designed and will extend from where the creek crosses under West Broadway south past airport property.

“This project will basically realign that creek,” said Schultz. “This is a section of Grant Creek that's severely impaired. Years ago, a new channel was bulldozed in to increase the amount of farmland available.”

As planned, the project will create meandering creek cut into a 200-foot floodplain corridor. It will also include an additional floodplain buffer that extends 100 feet to either side of the creek.

Schultz said the city is working with the Prolo Family, which owns the property, to secure the needed easements.

“This is designed for a 1.5-year flood,” said Schultz. “Frequently, that water in the spring will leave its bounds and activate at least portions of the floodplain. It leads to a more vibrant and healthier floodplain.”

Restoration plans.
Restoration plans will contour Crant Creek following the green path on the image.

The restoration of Grant Creek was initially included in the Mullan BUILD project. But funding at the time didn't cover the cost of the project and the creek was taken off the list until other funding sources could be found.

Aided by a competitive grant, the project could begin this winter. Along with the restoration of the creek, it will also include a creekside trail that will eventually tie in with the Mullan Trail to the southeast.

The easements will also make way for the extension of George Elmer Drive to West Broadway.

“We are wrapping up 100% design plans and submitting to FEMA,” said Schultz. “The plan is to bid this fall. Depending on winter conditions, they can start in the winter, but likely spring construction and the project would wrap up in the fall of 2025.”