American Whitewater has been working with local volunteers Ian McIntosh and Rod Lodders, who also represent the Beartooth Paddlers Society, on the relicensing of two dams on West Rosebud Creek. The Mystic Lake Hydro Project (FERC P-2301) was the first hydro project in the Nation to go through the new Integrated Licensing Process (ILP)- making it an important test case. The ILP was created to encourage enhanced public participation and collaboration. On this project, the dam owner (PPL Montana) took this challenge seriously and worked closely with paddlers to analyze their project's impacts on paddling and explore way in reducing this impact.
Together, a whitewater flow study was carried out, which proved the high quality of the whitewater opportunities that West Rosebud offers and the flows needed for paddling. Subsequent negotiations lead to the conclusion that the hydro project significantly reduces the number of days of boatable flows in West Rosebud, while delaying boatable flows that do exist until later in the summer. It was determined that opportunities to reduce these impacts existed, and ultimately paddlers reached an agreement with PPL Montana on a plan to enhance paddling for decades to come. These enhancements focus on improved flow information (a new gage is now in place and online), improved forecasting of paddling opportunities caused by spills over the dam, enhancing spills that are just outside boatable flows, and providing recreational releases immediately following times of spill.
2007 marked the first trial of these measures. At the conclusion of the three year period, stakeholders reached a long term agreement on specific whitewater boating enhancement measures. We negotiated late-season optimal whitewater release on West Rosebud Creek. After the dam begins spilling, which can be tracked here, and flows begin to drop just below runnable levels, PPL will release extra water on weekends to bring flows back into the optimal range. When flows drop too low, releases are no longer possible. To plan your trip, simply apply the West Rosebud USGS gage reading to the agreed upon release protocol. More information can be found on the PPL West Rosebud Website.
Montana Dam Proposals to be Withdrawn!
06/07/2013 - by Kevin Colburn
The company that has been seeking permits to build three new hydropower projects in Montana announced today that they are abandoning their proposals - for now. This is a great relief for the many Montanans that care about the incredible paddling, fishing, and scenery of East Rosebud Creek, West Rosebud Creek, and the Madison River.
Rosebud Video Highlights Success and Threats (MT)
08/02/2010 - by Kevin Colburn
American Whitewater is pleased to release a short video celebrating our successful restoration of boatable flows to West Rosebud Creek downstream of the Mystic Lake Hydroelectric Project. The video is also intended to raise awareness of a new proposal to dam and divert West Rosebud Creek immediately below the existing hydropower facility.
Releases on Bear and West Rosebud This Weekend!
07/08/2010 - by Kevin Colburn
American Whitewater is pleased to announce releases this coming weekend (July 10 and 11, 2010) on both the Black Canyon of the Bear River (ID) and West Rosebud Creek (MT). Both of these rivers are Class IV/V and the releases are the result of years of hard work by AW staff, volunteers, and affiliate clubs. Enjoy!
2009 West Rosebud Flow Program Announced
06/29/2009 - by Kevin Colburn
American Whitewater is pleased to announce the 2009 release program for West Rosebud Creek, located in Montana's beautiful Beartooth Mountains. Paddlers should expect optimal boating conditions on weekends beginning sometime in early to mid July and these conditions will likely continue well into August. Read this article to learn how to predict flows, and enjoy West Rosebud safely!
2009 West Rosebud Flow Program Announced
West Rosebud Releases On the Horizon
- Final License for The Mystic Lake Hydroelectric Project
This document is the final license for the Mystic Lake Hydro Project located on Montana's West Rosebud Creek. The license will take effect in January of 2010 and last for 40 years.
PPL Montana conducted a whitewater flow study of West Rosebud Creek in 2004-05, with the assistance of the Beartooth Paddlers and American Whitewater.
PPL Montana is partnering with American Whitewater and the Beartooth Paddling Club to identify a preferred range of whitewater boating flows on West Rosebud Creek below Emerald Lake.
In the 2007 whitewater paddler survey, boaters were asked to complete a questionnaire after each run down the creek, and their responses were tied to the flow they boated.