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The Bozeman Municipal Watershed (BMW) Fuels Reduction project is a collaborative partnership between the city of Bozeman and the Custer Gallatin National Forest. The final decision was made in 2011. The partnership’s success can be attributed to the support of the city commission over the past 10 years and the hard work of city and Forest Service staff.

The BMW project helps protect Bozeman’s drinking water supply by reducing fuels in these areas to lower the extent and severity of a wildland fire. The project also reduces the risk to development within the wildland urban interface, gives firefighters a better chance at containment, and improves public health and safety. To begin addressing this risk, fuels treatments will be focused in the Hyalite and Bozeman creek drainages including the Moser ridge that separates the two. Fuels reduction work will take place on both the Custer Gallatin National Forest and lands owned by city of Bozeman.   

Bozeman’s drinking water comes entirely from our National Forest Service lands - 80% from the Hyalite and Bozeman Creek watersheds and 20% from Lyman Creek. The greatest risk to our community water supply stems from a severe and extensive wildland fire, which can create excessive amounts of debris, sediment and ash that can negatively impact Bozeman’s drinking water infrastructure.

Project activities will affect our community by causing periodic, yet temporary, closures to active work areas. We genuinely believe the benefits of protecting our community’s drinking water outweigh these short-term disruptions and are fully committed to minimizing public impacts as much as possible. As we begin implementing the project over the coming 5-10 years, we expect questions and concerns to arise. There will be many opportunities for engagement and we sincerely hope those interested become involved in this project to help preserve our high-quality water in Bozeman.

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Mary Erickson, Custer Gallatin Forest supervisor

Mitch Reister, Bozeman Public Works director