Cottonwood Field Notes

Treekeepers

Cottonwoods are a keystone species in the Breaks; however, in the past 50 years the rate of cottonwood regeneration has slowed, largely due to a lack of natural flooding events in the Breaks. The cottonwood regeneration project is one of our most well-known conservation efforts. It has been incredibly successful, largely due to state-wide and further reaching support. Our cooperated project was started to combat the loss of cottonwood trees within the monument’s ecosystem. In the past five years, the partnership between FMB and the BLM has successfully re-established nearly 430 trees at seven sites.

In the summer months, it is the responsibility of our treekepers to maintain a watchful eye and help foster cottonwood growth. In 2016, FMB hired two seasonal staff members for watering duties and in 2017, the need for a larger crew saw to the contracting of seven Montana Conservation Corps (MCC) members. For the 2018 season, FMB has hired five MCC interns to water and maintain the cottonwoods from past and present plantings.

We have asked our treekeepers to keep a journal of their days while on the river, below are some of these excerpts.

2017 Journal Entries: Lantana Clark