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Watchin’ the Water – June 13

riverbank erosion
Water eroding the streambank. (KLYQ Photo)
The Bitterroot River is running high and muddy, but not over flood stage. In fact, officials don’t expect it to approach flood stage until the middle of next week – around June 22.
Monday, June 13, the Bitterroot River was at 6.7 feet at the Darby gauge, where flood stage is 7 feet. And, also Monday morning, the gauge at Bell Crossing near Victor was at 10.36 feet, with flood stage at 11 feet.
By no means does this mean the river is safe. The current is swift and muddy, hiding many of the floating logs and debris being washed down the waterway. There are a number of Forest Service campsites that are closed due to high water or bad roads. And the Montana FWP Fishing Accesses along the Bitterroot are closed.
As shown in the photo, bank erosion has been a problem in many areas along the river and streams in the valley.
There’s plenty of snow remaining in the mountains and weather will play the trump card as to how long high water season will last.

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