Beaver Dam Removal Planned for the Mystic Lake Outlet south of Bozeman

Gallatin County Emergency Management

Bozeman, Montana – Trail users near Mystic Lake, in the Sourdough Drainage, south of Bozeman, Montana should be aware that there will be a flurry of activity associated with a beaver dam removal project starting November 1.  Visitors can expect vehicle activity, heavy equipment operation and a crew working near the lake outlet for about two weeks..  “We realize that the activity may disrupt hunters and recreationist in the area but the work is extremely important” acknowledged Acting Bozeman District Ranger, David Francomb.

For the project duration, there will be higher than normal water flows in Bozeman Creek. Flow related water surges will be comparable to spring run-off water levels, thus, recreation users considering creek crossings should use extra caution.    Property owners along Bozeman creek will see more water in the stream.  According to Brian Heaston, City of Bozeman Engineer, “the increased flows are not anticipated to pose a threat to life safety or property.”

In late August, it came to the attention of the Bozeman City Engineer that a large beaver dam was in place at the Mystic Lake outlet.  The dam is large enough to create a public safety concern downstream due to increased water volume in the lake.  The City immediately began  work with the Forest Service to evaluate the hazard, then define and implement a solution to the problem.  The City and Forest Service worked in coordination with the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to develop the plan.

In order to remove the dam, the water will be slowly siphoned from the lake to the creek, to reduce water levels in a controlled fashion.  Then, the beaver dam will be removed using heavy equipment and/or hand labor.    In order to complete this work there will be trucks hauling supplies, heavy equipment operation at the site and support vehicles travelling Forest Service Roads (FSR) 176 (Moser Creek Cutoff) and FSR 979,  locally known as Bozeman Creek.  The routes are administrative roads, as well as trails.  The affected trails are #454 (Moser), #436 (Bozeman Creek) and #457 (Wall of Death Trail).  Trail users can expect vehicle traffic, noise and short delays or reroutes close to the work zone on Trail #50.

For more project information please call Brian Heaston, Project Engineer for the City of Bozeman, 406/522-2280 or the Acting District Ranger at the Bozeman Ranger District, 406/522-2520.