Story Mill Community Park Stream Restoration
Restoring ecological functions to a riverine system in an urban environment around a community park.
The Trust for Public Land is endeavoring to create a new community park in the northeastern corner of Bozeman, Montana. The proposed 54-acre Story Mill Community Park is located at the confluence of Bozeman Creek and East Gallatin River and includes over 1/2 mile of the East Gallatin River. In the past century, the expansive riverine and wetland ecosystem was first transformed to support the Story Mill agricultural hub, including a mill and granary, stockyard, slaughterhouse, stock pastures, and a pond. Because of its unique location, this site offers a rare and remarkable opportunity to combine ecological restoration with multiple community benefits to residents and the city of Bozeman.
RESPEC scientists and engineers assisted The Trust for Public Land in planning, designing, and constructing the restoration of this site. The goal of the restoration project is to “restore and protect on-site natural processes necessary for a functioning riparian and wetland system.” The ecosystem functions that were improved include water quality, the temporary storage of water in the spring and release of water later in the season (i.e., sponge effect), recreation and education opportunities for the Bozeman community (including Montana State University), and habitat for resident and migratory wildlife species. A rigorous planning and stakeholder process resulted in selecting a preferred restoration alternative that builds resilience into the riverine ecosystem and helps ensure river health. The restoration phase of the project is now complete and RESPEC continues to provide The Trust for Public Lands with design and permitting assistance for wetland and riverine features proposed in the ongoing park planning phase.