A forlorn and long-neglected stretch of fish and wildlife habitat in Missoula has been slowly surrounded by pavement and buildings and digging machines for decades, but a remedy is taking shape thanks to a federal infrastructure bill.
The Missoula City Council recently approved spending $331,871 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to help restore about a mile-long stretch of Grant Creek south of West Broadway Avenue.
Last year, the city applied for and won a competitive ARPA water and sewer improvement grant of $910,296 for this specific initiative, called the Grant Creek Realignment Project. The chunk of the overall money approved last week goes to a local engineering firm for design work.
“This project will restore this section of Grant Creek to a more natural condition, establish a riparian area setback from the Grant Creek channel and remove a large portion of land out of the 100-year floodplain,” explained Andy Shultz, a city engineer with the public works department.
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Grant Creek, historically very important to Indigenous people, runs for 19 miles from the snow-covered mountains in