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River to Lake Initiative | Montana

Conservation Action
Flathead Lake - Part of the River to Lake Initiative – River to Lake Initiative

What Can Be Done

The River to Lake Initiative is an exciting collaborative effort between landowners to a broad partnership of conservation groups, local, state, and federal government agencies, to conserve and restore the natural heritage of our Flathead River and Lake – excellent water quality, outstanding scenic and recreation values, abundant fish and wildlife, and prime farm land.

Since 2000, partners have protected over 5,000 acres of critical lands and wetlands and restored over 3 miles of riparian habitat, adding to a conservation network of about 11,000 acres of private and publicly protected lands along the main stem of the Flathead River.

The River to Lake Initiative encompasses the main stem of the Flathead River from Columbia Falls to the North Shore of Flathead Lake in Northwest Montana.

River to Lake partners and interested landowners work together to conserve critical habitat, restore vegetated stream banks, and sustain farms.

Critical lands protected and restored help protect water quality, and encompass some of the valley’s best native fish, wildlife habitat, and agricultural soils. To learn more about how you can participate, visit the River to Lake website at

Conservation Success

An evaluation of all protected areas (public and private) showed that the following have been protected:

41% of the 100-year floodplain
34% of the corridor's important agricultural soils
49% of high quality riparian areas
51% of the wetlands
43% of the areas overlaying shallow groundwater
29% of the banks along the Flathead River's main channel.
Private land conservation resulted in 57% of this success, 45% resulted from Flathead River to Lake Initiative projects (2000-2012).

News and Background Links

For news and events, please visit our website at

To receive the quarterly River to Lake Newsletter, send an email request to [email protected]. You can read our past newsletters on our website.