Big Spring Creek protected and restored with help from NRCS

An aerial shot of Spring Creek below Lewistown shows the current path of the creek and the new, meandering alignment.

Photo courtesy of Pete Smith

Construction is underway to restore a section of Big Spring Creek just north of Lewistown. Since the stream was straightened by his uncle and father in the 1960s, Mark Machler has wanted to see it returned to its natural, meandering path. That goal is nearing fruition, thanks to Machler’s work with the Fergus Conservation District.

Machler says without the conservation district keeping the process moving on track, the project wouldn’t have been completed.

The two brought many partners to the table in order to see the project through to completion, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service. NRCS developed the engineering plan for the restoration project as well as contributing funding through Environmental Quality Incentive Program contracts with the Machler and Adams families, both landowners along the stream corridor.

Machler played in the creek with his cousins as a boy. Big Spring Creek was also popular among local fishermen. In fact, the Jaycees hosted an annual fishing derby on the creek where it runs through the Machler property. In addition to improving fish and wildlife habitat, the stream restoration will address erosion, sedimentation, and flooding.

“This will always be a green spot for Lewistown. I got everything I wanted; the ground is protected and the creek is fixed,” said Machler. 

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