Bozeman Municipal Watershed Project, Trees

Marked trees are shown along the Kirk Hill trail as part of the Bozeman Municipal Watershed Project, which is a mix of thinning prescribed burning on 4,700 acres between the Bozeman Creek and Hyalite Creek drainages.

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Officials are planning an online event next week so people can learn more about the Bozeman Municipal Watershed Project.

The Facebook Live event is scheduled to run from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 6. People can join from either the Custer Gallatin National Forest or city of Bozeman Facebook pages. The event will be recorded for those who can’t attend.

Those tuning in will hear about where crews plan to work this summer, what recreation around Bozeman could look like during the project and how to stay safe while near equipment, according to the Forest Service.

“This is a great opportunity to learn about the plan for this summer and fall and ask questions of the Forest Service and city of Bozeman,” said Corey Lewellen, Bozeman district ranger, in a news release. “Implementation activities including prescribed burning and road work could begin soon, potentially even in the next few weeks if conditions allow.”

The watershed project calls for logging, thinning and prescribed burning on approximately 4,700 acres of National Forest between the Hyalite and Bozeman creek drainages.

The project is aimed at protecting the city’s drinking water in the event of a large wildfire in the Gallatin range. Around 80% of Bozeman’s drinking water comes from Hyalite and Bozeman creeks.

Officials also want to protect homes in the wildland-urban interface and keep firefighters safe by reducing the potential severity and extent of a wildfire in the area.

People should expect to see logging trucks, helicopters, equipment, hand-crews, smoke and temporary road and trail closures this summer as the work goes on, according to the project’s website.

This year, the city is doing its own project in conjunction with the Forest Service on 330 acres of city-owned land along the Sourdough Creek Trail. Access to the trail will be closed in the fall for approximately three weeks during part of the city’s project.

Logging treatments could start in the Moser Ridge Area and around city land by the Bozeman Creek intake structure this summer, according to the Forest Service. Hand treatments around Leverich Gulch will also likely start this summer.

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Helena Dore can be reached at hdore@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2628.

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