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Working Ranch - March 2018

“By using cover crops and no-till to enhance the soil health, we’re able to keep the soil organisms alive as long as we can during the year,” Chuck Hahn explains. “The livestock are there to help incorporate that plant mass back into the soil. Creek into the Missouri River. The waterway also provides irrigation and some stock water on the Hahn Ranch. They’ve been working in partnership with the FWP, Natural Resources and Conservation Services (NRCS), Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), their local conservation district and other water users in the valley for nearly 30 years to improve the creek and re-establish it as a free-fl owing tributary to the Missouri River. In 1991, they were a part of the fi rst of many efforts to get Deep Creek off the state Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) list of impaired waters. The installation of the Montana Ditch siphon was one major step to restoring Deep Creek’s function as a nursery to and cold water refuge on this blue ribbon fi shery. “As we become more conservation minded all the time, we’re working harder and harder to improve water quality and water fl ow rates,” Dusty says. “That means we’re able to leave a little something more for downstream, and it’s of a higher quality. That’s just the right thing to do.” Back when they started in 1991, there was an average of less than 10 brown trout spawning redds at many locations along the creek. In 2016, one location on the Hahn Ranch noted as many as 75 redds. More recent projects to relocate irrigation diversions and pumping has now tripled Your Ranch, Your Magazine streamfl ow in a commonly dewatered reach of Deep Creek. All streams naturally increase in water temperature as water travels downstream, Spoon explains. Deep Creek used to warm up by 8 degrees Fahrenheit in the lower 13 miles of stream, but now warms by 2.5 degrees as a result of changes with irrigation practices. A gift subscription is always nice, $19/year Call 833-WE-RANCH or go to our website www.workingranchmag.com MARCH 2018 I WORKING RANCH I 77


Working Ranch - March 2018
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