Overall Project Plan
Currently working on the overall health of the Tenmile Watershed is the Upper Tenmile Source Water Protection Group. This is a collaborative entity with representatives from the Forest Service, Montana State Department of Environmental Quality (MT DEQ), US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), TriCounty Firesafe Working Group, rural fire departments, the City of Helena, and non-profit groups. This is an umbrella group to address the health of the overall Tenmile Watershed, while smaller groups such as the Lake Helena Watershed Group and the Tenmile Watershed Coordinating Council focus on specific areas within the watershed. The umbrella group has four areas of concern: Superfund sites, fire protection, septic tanks, and erosion control.
Thanks to the Tenmile Watershed Coordinating Council (TMWCC), there is a comprehensive plan for a large segment of the Tenmile Watershed, built through consensus of a representative group from our community. The Forest Service is using that plan to implement upcoming projects, taking into account all infrastructure of Helena's water system. Forest Service and City officials recognize the value and commitment of the TMWCC and their work to complete a substantial, inclusive plan to implement in the area.
The Red Mountain Flume/Chessman Reservoir Projects are now complete, complementing the mitigation work completed on city and private land. Though the phrase "clear cutting" has been used in relation to the work around the Chessman Reservoir, the intention was to remove only dead trees and to use current best practices to limit damage to the soil and the risk of sedimentation.
The South Helena/Tenmile Watershed projects have been through a majority of the planning process, the DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) was released in 2016. The Collaborative provided strategic, comprehensive comments in response to the alternatives presented by the Forest Service. The final plan will be released in spring, 2017.
Efforts are now underway for the Collaborative to provide the same level of feedback through strategic, comprehensive comments on the recently released Forest Plan for the Helena-Lewis and Clark Forest, particularly the section addressing the geographic area the Collaborative was created to consider. The plan was released on December 1, 2016 for the 120 comment period.